How much has Portland spent on recent school construction?
1980s: Portland voters approve $20 million bond to repair Portland High School. It’s the biggest school bond ever passed in Portland. The $14.3 million renovation is completed in 1990.

1993: Portland voters approve a $14.8 million bond for the city’s three middle schools. The money is earmarked to expand capacity at the King and Lyman Moore middle schools by 350 students and make extensive renovations to the then-96-year-old Lincoln Middle School.

1995: Portland voters pass a $1.2 million bond for the middle schools, after cost overruns due to asbestos removal at all three schools and unexpected problems at Lincoln, such as leaking sewer lines, an unsafe roof and inadequate support for the third-floor stage.

What Portland schools were recently renovated or built with state funds? How does that work?
Portland used state funding to build the East End Community School in 2006 and Ocean Avenue Elementary School in 2011. Hall Elementary School is in the midst of a $20 million renovation using state funds.

Every few years, the Maine Department of Education seeks applications for state school construction funding, evaluates and scores project proposals based on need, and issues a priority list that is the basis of capital improvement funding decisions for the next few years. When the most recent multi-year cycle closed, Longfellow and Reiche elementary schools were close to the top of the list – numbers two and three – but missed out on the funding.

The city can reapply for funding for any school it thinks would qualify. The state is currently accepting the new applications and will come out with a new list in about two years.

What is the timeline on the current $70 million bond proposal?
In June, the Portland school board voted 6-2 to recommend a $70 million bond to renovate Reiche, Longfellow, Lyseth and Presumpscot elementary schools and sent the recommendation to the City Council.
The City Council decided to create a School Facilities Ad Hoc Committee to analyze the bond proposal, and make a recommendation on a bond amount.
The committee is currently doing its work, and plans to hold a public hearing before voting on a recommendation.
The Ad Hoc Committee recommendation will go back to the school board, which will hold a public hearing before making its recommendation to the council.
• The council will refer the recommendation to its finance committee. The committee will hold a public hearing before making its recommendation to the council.
• The council will hold a public hearing before taking a binding vote. The council will need seven affirmative votes to send a bond referendum proposal to the ballot.
• Bond language must be submitted to bond counsel at least 60 days before the referendum vote can be held.