This op-ed appeared in the Portland Press Herald on October 28, 2017.
Bonds tend to pass in Maine—especially when they involve transportation, research and development, or education. And that’s no surprise. We all want good roads, better jobs, and great opportunities for our kids. But if you’re a Portland voter who values education and wants excellent schools, teachers, and materials citywide, you should vote “NO” on the $64 million school bond (Question 3 on the local ballot). Here are four reasons.
On March 20th, 2017 I presented my school bond proposal to the City Council. I've posted a video of that presentation below, complete with the accompanying PowerPoint slides. (You wouldn't have been able to see the slides if you watched the meeting from home.)
I have tried to be transparent about my thinking on the proposed $64 million 4-school bond, so as most of you know, I am not in favor of bonding all four schools in one fell swoop. I felt it was important to wait for the district wide analysis to come out in order to make the best plan to move forward, and that report finally did come out in December.
Since that time, I have been working to create an alternative to the proposed bond that will allow us to address the most pressing needs at our schools and plan to move forward sustainably. I am pleased to present that proposal to you here.
Wondering why I chose Lyseth as the school to fully renovate with this bond? Why we need four new classrooms at Ocean Avenue? When we'll get to other elementary school renovations if we adopt this bond as our path forward?
You can find the answers to all of those questions—and many others—in this Q&A on the bond.
In December, Superintendent Botana spoke before the State Board of Education in an attempt to obtain a guarantee of state funding for Longfellow and Reiche in advance of the new application cycle. This is the document he read.
In December, Superintendent Botana requested that Emily Figdor, a leader of Protect Our Neighborhood Schools, stay away from the significant deferred maintenance language when they were working together to craft the flyer that went home in students backpacks earlier this year.
A portion of their email exchange is below.
I wrote an op-ed about the proposed school bond for the Press Herald. It ran in the paper on January 12th, and you can find it here on my blog and on the PPH website.
This piece is a follow up to address and clarify some of the points I couldn’t delve into in fewer than 750 words. You can read it straight through, or use the links below to jump to specific sections.
I am a teacher. I have taught in public schools.
I know that good schools are central to the well-being and prosperity of a community. I also know that here in Portland, we need significant updates at all seventeen of our schools.
Passing a narrowly focused $60-$70 million bond will not help us to achieve that goal. In fact, it will do the opposite. It will leave the most pressing needs in our school system unmet while raising property taxes, eliminating teaching positions, and decreasing municipal services. Here’s why.
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