Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Portland schools look for $550 million in building upgrades

The Portland Tribune's article: Portland schools look for $550 million in building upgrades. It seems that PPS is floating this early to anesthetize the public. It is stated: "The bond measure’s rate, about $2 per $1,000 of assessed value, would cost just under $25 a month for a median household worth about $275,000."

It might not have been intended but it seems that the thinking is that $25/month isn't much. It wasn't clear how that figure was determined, but if I knew my taxes (I don't own property) were about to increase by $25 a month I would be more than concerned.

There was this attempt by PPS to justify the building upgrades: "Seattle is also rebuilding its schools and is seeing a spike in enrollment because the schools are more attractive." Query: Is this way to get children in school?

Rather than justify its needs to rehab its buildings with conventional rationale - PPS seeks to connect the building upgrades with improvements in educational content and corresponding results. Of course, there is the tried and true connection to jobs - it is the rallying cry, however fraudulent, for construction projects.

Does anyone really believe that the PPS dropout rate will decrease or that the on time graduation will increase with new or rehabilitated buildings? [See Oregon high school graduation rates.] Will new buildings increase learning? Ironically one the buildings that the money will be spent on - Lincoln High School - does fairly well in test scores

Granted that the rationale for this potential bond measure is valid, i.e., the buildings need upgrading; but  with TriMet, urban renewal and others looking to suck up more and more of the property taxpayer's dollar - something has to give.

Where is the rational proposals for educating Portland students to be competitive not only in Portland, but in Oregon and USA?

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