How the school improvement bond was developed: Community input on bond priorities

Long-range facilities plan

From December 2011 through April 2012, a citizens committee guided the development of PPS’ Long- Range Facility Plan, which informed proposed bond scenarios to fund school improvements.

The Long-Range Facility Plan Advisory Committee reviewed enrollment forecasts and assessments of facilities conditions, including seismic safety and accessibility for schools. The facilities assessments were used to rate the school buildings most in need of major repair, complete upgrade or replacement.

The Long-Range Facility Plan states that Portland Public Schools should create effective, accessible and inclusive learning environments that help all students achieve. The entire committee agreed that capital bonds would be required in order to renovate/replace facilities and meet enrollment requirements in the next 10 years.

Criteria

Criteria were reviewed and narrowed by a Bond Development Committee, which considered and refined options for what an initial bond package would contain. The Bond Development Committee included members from the Long-Range Facility Plan Advisory Committee and new members representing a diverse cross-section of the Portland community.

PPS used this group’s guidance to develop four possible options that formed a starting point for public discussion in community meetings and an online survey (which was completed by more than 600 respondents).

  • Upgraded high schools, seismic safety and accessibility, emerged as key priorities for participants at community meetings, and in the online survey.

Referral and voter approval

Based on public comment, the Portland School Board referred to voters an 8-year, $482 million school building improvement bond that : high schools, seismic upgrades, increased accessibility and existing partnerships that include capital funding commitments that leverage bond funds.

The bond was approved by voters in November 2012, with 66 percent approval.