In March, the Portland Press Herald backed the four-school bond, saying, “It’s hard to argue that a bond would fix an equity problem if it invests in only two schools instead of four.”

But now the paper says it’s “worth the risk” to kick the can down the road, again, and not bond locally to renovate Reiche and Longfellow, which are in the very worst condition.

The Press Herald got it right the first time.

Twenty three years ago, in 1994, the city hired architects to develop a plan to renovate the city’s elementary schools. They determined that Reiche and Longfellow needed major renovations to meet modern educational standards.

In 2001, the city applied to the state to fund these much-needed renovations, but Reiche and Longfellow did not make the cut.

Four years later, in 2005, our city again applied to the state for Reiche and Longfellow, and again the state said no.


But still, in 2010, we applied to the state yet again. Reiche fell from being the third next school to be funded to No. 21, with Longfellow at No. 18.

In 2013, Portland’s school board decided enough was enough and forwarded to the City Council a local bond to fix the elementary schools – the strategy that communities all around Portland have taken. But the Finance Committee rejected it, saying we should wait just one more year, as the state may yet fund Reiche and Longfellow.

And, again, the state didn’t pay.

Here we are 23 years later, and the conditions at Reiche and Longfellow are keeping kids from learning and achieving their potential.

It’s time to take responsibility ourselves and to invest in Portland’s children and future. Please join me in voting “yes” on Question 3 and help enable every child in Portland to go to a safe, 21st-century school.

Comments are no longer available on this story