Shoshana Hoose’s July 20 Maine Voices narrative on the Portland school bond is skilled but slanted.

“At the center of the debate” is not so much Progressive Portland, but the parents, who for 20 years have heard the same lame promise about letting the schools get so rundown that the state will step in and pay for them. Progressive Portland is made up of these parents, and they are tired of Portland’s “race to the bottom” strategy.

Ms. Hoose favors redistricting. Redistricting sounds good on paper, but it doesn’t build communities. And nothing builds communities like elementary schools.

Remember your childhood friends? Of course you do. They knew you when you picked your nose, when you wet your pants in class, when you got beat up after school and when you had your first crush. And they’re the ones who show up when tragedy strikes, when you need a true friend. That’s community.

Redistricting or consolidation is fine for high school, but not elementary kids. They need neighborhood schools, and Portland needs more community, not less.

It’s true that kids wouldn’t get as “worked up” by redistricting as parents. That’s because they don’t know any better. They’re in grade school. They don’t know what it means to lose community.

Ms. Hoose’s enrollment numbers are misleading. Her historical reference to enrollment of all grades is not the issue. The number of elementary kids is the issue. The elementary schools are full, or nearly full, and that’s a fact.

And what about taxes? As those middle-class families that can afford to raise families move out, or avoid Portland in the first place, because of poor school buildings, who is left to pay taxes? The retired seniors.

Vote for our community, for all four schools and for those candidates who support them.

Bill Linnell

Portland