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PPS Measure 26-193 - Bond

Title:Bonds to Improve Health, Safety, Learning by Modernizing, Repairing Schools Question:Shall Portland Public Schools improve health and safety, modernize and repair schools, build education facilities, by issuing $790,000,000 in bonds? If the bonds are approved, they will be payable from taxes on property or property ownership that are not subject to the limits of sections 11 and 11b, article XI of the Oregon Constitution. Financial Impact:The average levy rate for this bond issue is estimated to be $0.68 per $1000 of assessed value over 30 years. The levy rate is estimated to be $1.40 per $1000 for the first four years, declining thereafter. For a house assessed at $200,000, the initial annual cost would be about $280. Over the 30-year life of the bond, the average cost would be $136 annually. The total principal amount of bonds authorized by this measure cannot exceed $790 million. Probable Results of a "Yes" Vote: This $790 million bond would fund renovations and additions at Benson and Madison High Schools, and full rebuilds of Lincoln High School and Kellogg Middle School. Approximately 30% of the budgets for these four projects comprehensively address health and safety issues, including reducing exposure to hazardous materials, improving accessibility, and addressing fire safety. The bond would also fund initial planning for upgrades to Cleveland, Jefferson, and Wilson High Schools. Additionally, at least $150 million would fund district-wide health and safety projects. Property taxes would increase. Probable Results of a "No" Vote: Portland Public Schools would continue to defer major repairs, updates and rebuilds for schools district-wide. Property taxes would not increase for capital costs. Background:Ballot Measure 5, passed in 1990, and Measure 50, passed in 1997, capped local property taxes. As the state equalized spending per student around the state, it left Portland Public Schools with less and less ability to fund the operation of their schools, and facilities maintenance was deferred. The average age of PPS schools is 76 years with 84% 61 years of age or older. Many PPS buildings were built before the state’s seismic code was in place and also have other health and safety problems. After a bond measure was defeated in 2011, PPS initiated a long-range study with community input to set specific goals and priorities for modernization of schools. In 2012 the first of a series of bonds required for the modernization passed. Work funded by that $482 million bond, including modernization of Franklin, Grant and Roosevelt high schools and replacement of Faubion PreK-8, is expected to be complete in 2020. This is the second bond measure under the long-range plan. In 2014, voters also approved a PPS levy for teaching positions and programs of $1.99 per $1,000 of assessed value. Summary of Measure:If this bond measure is approved, PPS will launch a plan to modernize schools. This bond would fund renovation or replacement of four schools (Benson, Lincoln, Madison, and Kellogg) as well as health and safety improvements across the district, including reducing lead in water; reducing exposure to lead paint, asbestos and radon; improving fire safety, accessibility and security.
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Pros & Cons

The average age of PPS schools buildings is 76 years; many are over 100 years old. This bond would fund necessary seismic upgrades that strengthen safety for our children and our teachers, update fire safety alarms and sprinkler systems and repairs, and repair or replace leaking or deteriorating school roofs. The bond would also improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

It's time to build safe and healthy schools that will protect our children today while building for their future. The 2017 Health, Safety and Modernization Bond removes dangerous materials and neurotoxins from every school in the district while also giving our kids the modern education and technology tools they need to succeed.

Pros & Cons

This bond measure will be followed by more bond measures to fund the other projects in the 30-year PPS modernization plan and property taxes will continue to rise.

The $482 million 2012 bond measure, then the largest in Oregon history, is still costing $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed value;  the 2014 levy is costing $1.99 per $1,000. This bond would bring the total to $4.49 per $1,000 until 2020.  Portland Public Schools should not seek to burden its residents with the biggest local bond measure ever approved in state history until 2020, when taxes from the previous bond and levy will diminish.

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