Voters to weigh in on new Portland schools bond

Education

The proposed bond would be used, in part, to cover overrun costs from a 2017 bond

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Public School board is moving forward with a proposed measure to continue funding improvements to area schools.

The $790 million 2017 Health Safety and Modernization Bond is renovating or rebuilding three high schools (Madison, Benson and Lincoln) and one middle school (Kellogg). Portland Public Schools said $150 million of the bond was also set aside for resolving health and safety concerns across the district.

The PPS Board of Education decided at a Tuesday meeting to ask voters to approve a new bond measure, part of which would go toward millions in cost overruns from projects in the 2017 bond.

The board found increases in construction costs and misjudgments in initial bond figures has led to cost overruns. One of the projects costing more than planned is the rebuild of Lincoln High School. Work on the new school began last month.

Despite the overruns, PPS said it is not going back on promises made to voters.

“We are committed to the schools in the 2017 bond to build them and do critical health and safety work happening all over the city,” said PPS board member Julia Brim-Edwards.

The 2020 bond would continue the existing tax assessment property owners pay under the current bond but the exact number — and what would be included in the next construction bond — is still unclear.

Voters will have a chance to weigh in before a decision is made in the coming months.

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