Portland school bond measure has union support

A coalition of Portland unions, including teachers, firefighters, police, city and county workers, announced support for the Portland Public Schools (PPS) bond measure that will be on the ballot in November. This coalition includes the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), Portland Fire Fighters Association Local 43, Portland Police Association, and City of Portland AFSCME Local 189 and Multnomah County Employees AFSCME Local 88.

Measure 26-144 will fund school repairs, earthquake readiness, and renovating Grant High School, Roosevelt High School, Franklin High School, and Faubion K-8. It will be paid for by a property tax increase of $1.10 per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value for the first eight years. Thus, a home assessed at $200,000 would pay $220 a year for the first eight years. After that, the cost will decrease to 30 cents per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value (or $60 a year on a $200,000 home) for four years after that.

“Students need a safe and healthy learning environment. This bond is vital to rebuilding and moving our schools into the 21st century,” said Jim Forquer, president of  Fire Fighters Local 43.

Gwen Sullivan, president of Portland Association of Teachers, said the bond will include a local oversight committee made up of teachers, school staff, parents, and community members, “to ensure our students get the quality schools they need and Portland taxpayers get the best return on their investment.”

Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, added that the bond “will not only result in safer, stronger buildings, but safer and stronger communities. With this bond we have an opportunity to support Portland’s struggling middle-class families by providing living wage jobs and investments in our minority communities through responsible contracting.”

Last month the Portland School Board formalized a committee charged with monitoring bond-funded projects and offering advice to the school board.

John Mohlis, executive secretary of the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council, was named to the committee, along with six others.  Chairing the committee would be Kevin Spellman, a local management consultant and trainer for construction owners, contractors and industry professionals.

Other committee members include:

Anita Decker – COO, Bonneville Power Administration
Louis Fontenot – development manager, Trammell Crow Company
Steve March – auditor, Multnomah County
Willy Paul –  executive director, Kaiser National Facilities Services
Tom Peterson – chief engineer, City of Portland.

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