I am a parent writing to the citizens of Portland and the City Council asking them to not support reducing the $70 million bond proposal that the Portland Board of Education recommended. Doing so would mean that some schools would not receive planned renovations. The quality and the equity of our schools are at stake in this proposed reduction.

It is common for cities to obtain these bonds for the purpose of providing quality school facilities for their children. We cannot afford to wait out the uncertainty of a state funding process that is inadequate for the substantial current needs. We have waited long enough – 50 to 60 years for some schools.

Our youngest students need the best we can give them in their early and formative years, not substandard buildings and facilities. We also need to be thinking of the future of our city. Our city and state need young families moving to Portland. Quality, modern schools will help in drawing these families to Portland and to Maine to stay.

Schools are much more than just buildings – we need to make sure that their gyms, facilities and classrooms are the best we can provide. They are used for sports and plays, adult education and after-school activities, elder care, social gatherings and so many other purposes.

Having excellent schools and pre-schools that are a walkable distance for families is so important for parents and kids. This allows for safe transportation of working families’ kids to school during rush hour in the morning and afternoon.

I think most taxpayers would be willing to pay the roughly $150 extra on their yearly property tax bill to provide safe, modern and beautiful schools for our youngest children and families. Can we afford not to?

Bradford Post