A new political action committee has formed in Portland to support the less expensive of two proposed bonds aimed at improvements to the city’s aging schools.
Backers of both items want to rescue four aging elementary schools. One would float a $64 million bond to renovate all four facilities. The other would authorize about half that amount to rehab two of them, and rely on the state’s school improvement program to replace the other two with brand-new facilities.
The PAC, called Better Schools Better Deal, has emerged in favor of the less expensive, $32 million bond. Dory Anna Waxman, a former city councilor and school board member, says two of the schools are likely to be funded for replacement by the state, so it makes sense to wait and see before putting local property taxpayers on the hook for the whole tab.
“We have people who are living here who are barely getting by right now. The tax issue is big, but the most important thing for us is that we want to see the best deal for Portland, and that is leave the schools on the state list,” she says.
Waxman says that if local voters authorize a bond for a facility, it is then dropped from the list of schools waiting for state-funded replacement.