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City Council To Get Elementary School Bond Proposal July 6

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City Council To Get Elementary School Bond Proposal July 6
Posted on 06/30/2016
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On Wednesday, July 6, the Portland Board of Public Education will refer to the City Council the board’s recommendation that the council send a $70.6 million bond proposal to city voters to pay for renovations at Presumpscot, Longfellow, Lyseth, and Reiche elementary schools. The council is then expected to vote on the creation of a School Facilities Ad Hoc Committee to study the board’s recommendation.

The vote will take place at a special council meeting, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

After holding several public hearings at which dozens of people said the four elementary schools are in urgent need of improvements, the school board voted on June 21 to recommend the bond proposal to the council. Board members said the upgrades are necessary to ensure all students in the district have access to a facility that meets their learning needs.

The order for the council’s July 6 meeting reads as follows: “This order creates an Ad Hoc Committee, comprised of representatives from the City Council and Board of Education, to be formed to study the Board of Education’s Buildings for Our Future Initiative. The initiative is a $70,593,229 million educational facilities rehabilitation bond passed by the Portland Board of Education on June 21, 2016 and subsequently sent to this Council. The Ad Hoc Committee shall review the initiative after holding a workshop with the Council, and refer it, including any recommended changes, to the Board of Education and then the Council’s Finance Committee.”

Additional backup material on the specifics of the bond order will be distributed at the City Council meeting. After taking public comment on the order, the council is expected to vote on it.

The district has been studying for years how to transform five aged and deteriorating elementary schools in the district into 21st century centers for learning. One of those schools, Hall Elementary School, is eligible for state funding. Portland voters in April approved spending $29.7 million to build a new Hall school on the existing site. All but $1.4 million of the bonded amount will be reimbursed by the state.

According to the “Buildings for Our Future” report from architecture and engineering firm Oak Point Associates, it will cost more than $70 million to upgrade the four remaining schools, Presumpscot, Longfellow, Lyseth, and Reiche. None has had significant improvements since they were built, from 40 to 60 years ago.

For more information, visit the Buildings for Our Future quick link on the district website, www.portlandschools.org or click here.