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School modernization becomes a reality

November 29, 2012
Following years of analysis and discussion, work to modernize our schools got a kickstart this month when voters approved a $482 million school construction bond by a two thirds majority. With a dedicated source of funding in place, attention now turns to the work of implementing this historic rebuilding program.
Superintendent Carole Smith, school board members and campaign, student and community leaders gathered Nov. 8 at Lewis K-5 School to thank Portland voters for supporting the school construction bond. Lewis is among schools that will get a new roof.
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Planning to fully modernize Roosevelt High School would begin in spring 2013 with construction beginning in Jan. 2015, according to a staff recommendation presented Nov. 19 to the Portland School Board. PPS staff delivered the proposed implementation plan to board members for their review and comments. The plan includes recommendations for project timelines, program management and board and community oversight.

Community oversight
A key goal during implementation is community oversight and cooperation. This week, the Bond Accountability Committee held its first meeting to discuss meeting structure and how it will present findings to the school board.

Comprising a mix of individuals with a reputation for fairness and transparency and experience in building design, construction, public contracting, budgeting, and/or auditing, the seven-member Bond Accountability Committee will meet quarterly to review bond funded projects and offer advice to the school board on:

• Whether bond revenue is spent appropriately
• Alignment with the goals and principles of the district’s Long Range Plan
• Alignment with the goals of the Business Equity Policy
• Lowering maintenance and construction costs while improving efficiency
• Historic preservation and school renovation
• Potential capital partnerships for joint and shared use of PPS facilities
• Implementation of appropriate ways to address seismic issues
• Compliance with ADA

Stay connected
In the coming weeks, PPS will launch a school construction bond webpage where anyone can track projects and get the latest information on work to modernize our schools. As always, major developments or events will be posted on the district’s homepage, on facebook and on twitter.

 
 

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