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Public Hearing on Elementary School Improvements on May 24

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Public Hearing on Elementary School Improvements on May 24
Posted on 05/19/2016
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On Tuesday, May 24, the Portland Board of Public Education will hold a public hearing to get feedback from the community as the board considers what it will recommend to the City Council regarding the renovation of Presumpscot, Longfellow, Lyseth, and Reiche elementary schools.

The board will meet in the gymnasium of Presumpscot Elementary School, located at 69 Presumpscot St. It will hold a workshop at 6 p.m. to discuss the educational needs at the four schools with administrators and teachers from the schools. The public hearing will immediately follow the workshop.

The district has been studying for about four 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 most recent “Buildings for Our Future” report from architecture and engineering firm Oak Point Associates, it will cost a projected $70 million to upgrade the four remaining schools, Presumpscot, Longfellow, Lyseth, and Reiche. At the upcoming meeting, the board is expected to discuss whether it should recommend to the council that a bond proposal go out to voters this November.

Stephanie Hatzenbuehler, chair of the board’s Operations Committee, said, “The school board Finance and Operations committees have been working diligently to assess the project report and identify the most responsible and efficient way to move forward with these important and necessary projects. As ever, it is our top priority to make sure that the children in our city have buildings that are reflective of our community’s commitment to provide the best education possible for our students.”

The school board on June 7 is expected to take a preliminary vote on a recommendation to the City Council, and hold another public hearing and final vote on June 21.

For more information on Buildings for Our Future, click here. You can also visit the Buildings for Our Future page on the district website, www.portlandschools.org, under the "Programs" tab.