So now we learn that the upgrades to four Portland elementary schools not only require significant scaling back but also, even then, require an additional $21 million to complete.

Supposedly construction cost increases were factored into the $64 million bond issue brought to and approved by voters in 2017. Looks like that dart missed the board completely. Hope we get more than a walk-through with a rag and a bottle of Windex for our $84 million.

All the slogans of “Building For Our Future,” and speeches claiming that we can’t afford to wait for state funding, have hardly had a chance to die down, and now costs are spiraling out of control.

So what should we do with this project? The state is the traditional source of majority funding for school construction projects, and Portland, being the largest contributing district to the state coffers, should receive its fair share of these funds.

An effort from our city leaders to draw on some of these funds doesn’t sound unreasonable to me before we demand even more from Portland’s taxpayers. But even more important, Portland voters must be ever-cautious of these “can’t wait,” “Building For Our Future” schemes in the future. I can think of a few developing around the city and waterfront, and I’m sure you can, too.

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