Neglecting to fund our schools now will only cost us more later.

The taxpayers of Portland have been paying for school building studies for the last 22 years. Experts at Oak Point Associates have finalized the most recent and comprehensive study, for which the taxpayers of Portland paid $717,000 since 2012. In four years, the school price tag has increased by $7 million.

The Buildings For Our Future plan (found on the Portland Public Schools website) is well thought out. It uses the buildings we have and upgrades them so they will last another 50-plus years. Once renovated, the schools will meet modern fire safety, security, Americans with Disabilities Act and educational standards. Currently, they do not.

There is no question that our schools need renovation. This is not a matter of if – it is a matter of when. Request a facilities tour if you would like to see for yourself.

Portland cannot rely on the state to fund all of our school projects. Maine has funded the last three elementary school projects. The state has already surpassed the national average funding school projects for Portland. Typically school renovations are funded locally.

Portland’s school board met June 21 to finalize its proposal for a $70 million bond to the City Council. A $70 million bond will add $12.33 a month for five years to a property valued at $225,000. Once the proposal is presented to the City Council, they will have some hard decisions to make.

Get involved! Please encourage your city representatives to show leadership, protect our neighborhood schools and present the full bond measure on the ballot in November. Your representatives should speak for you.

Our schools are the cornerstone to our walkable neighborhoods. Our schools are an asset we should not neglect.

Jessica Teesdale

Portland