Five years ago, Portland’s Board of Education decided to address facilities studies detailing tremendous needs in Portland’s school buildings. After years of neglect and lack of renovation, most of Portland’s elementary students were being educated in overcrowded, undermaintained buildings.

Enrollment studies, building studies, collaboration between architects, educators and community members, and financial planning brought us to a proposal to repair and renovate our elementary school buildings to meet safety and educational standards.

The bond was carefully structured with taxpayers in mind and had overwhelming support from board members and councilors. But one councilor, Jill Duson, threw a wrench into things, with empty promises, in an effort to win over voters. Now Portlanders know the four-school renovation as a contentious political issue.

We’ve lost sight of the intention and hard work behind this comprehensive plan. Please put politics aside. Vote for Portland’s Question 3, the only plan to truly address all four schools.

Jessica Marino