Search for superintendent delays PPS bond measure

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Plans to send an enormous multi-million dollar Portland Public Schools bond package to voters in November have been put on hold as the district seeks out new leadership.

The $750 million PPS bond measure, along with much-needed repairs on local campuses, will have to wait.

“We feel that it’s most prudent to bring this package to the voters in May of 2017,” PPS board member Amy Kohnstamm said Monday night. “It allows the board to focus on the urgent needs of landing stable leadership in this district in the near term.”

Kohnstamm was referring to the district’s search for a new superintendent, following Carole Smith’s recent announcement that she was stepping away from her position.

Other board members at Monday’s meeting agreed with Kohnstamm.

“We have to acknowledge that we really are not where we should be in order to approach the voters,” PPS board member Paul Anthony said.

The district hopes to have an interim superintendent in place by August 11.

In the meantime, some parents say they aren’t thrilled the district is putting important issues like the $750 million proposed bond and repairs on the back burner.

“Asbestos and lead and roofs that leak… It’s something that needs to be done now,” Rob Johns with Benson Polytechnic Alumni Association said.

Johns took his concerns to the board, saying the 100-year-old school, which serves thousands of students almost year-round, is in need of some major improvements.

“Waiting to get a superintendent that has the vision is a nice call, but I think that’s very separate from the current problems we have to attend to,” he said. “Why are we delaying something now that should have been looked at years ago?”

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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