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Kids can learn in older buildings

Readers' Letters
by: Christopher Onstott Cleveland High School student Hannah Parker makes phone calls with Katie Rozek, a Riverdale High School student, and others to raise awareness of the two funding measures Portland Public Schools will ask voters to approve May 17. Letter writers weigh in on the issue.

In the mid-1990s Portland schools were retrofitted to make them earthquake-resistant at great taxpayer cost. This was supposed to extend the life of these school buildings far beyond a mere 15 years. Now, we are supposed to agree to scrap all of that tax money spent retrofitting the schools and start over on them from the ground up? (Builders backing schools, Feb. 10) Crazy, greedy and unnecessary.

I graduated from the same high school that my father graduated from. What happened to the pride in tradition at our schools? Each graduating class left their own tribute to the school in some form of campus improvement. The school building was also well-maintained throughout the year. The idea that schools have to be brand new in order for kids to learn in them is unbelievably ludicrous.

Ann Friday

Southwest Portland

New schools will be good for business

I was thrilled, in your recent article, to see that businesses understand the value in ensuring that our students have great schools (Builders backing schools, Feb. 10). It only makes sense when you think about it - it's good for business. With up-to-date learning centers and enough teachers to provide decent class sizes, they can attract the best workers from around the country in the short term, and in the long term they have potential future employees who have had a robust education.

As a parent of a sophomore in Portland Public Schools, I can attest to the awful state of our old buildings. In my son's school, the plumbing is so old and in such bad condition that leaking radiators have literally buckled the floor in the gym and in classrooms. Our school was built in 1915, and it shows. It shows in the small classrooms that make it difficult for hands-on science, and it shows in the challenges of even meeting requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

With our current situation in the state, with our lack of resources to pay for basic services, we need both the bond and the levy to give our kids the schools they deserve. Our family has been severely affected by our current economic climate. Despite that, we are enthusiastically supporting both of these measures this May. I hope you'll join us.

Kathy Couch

Northeast Portland

Tax could put people out of homes

A question to ask is: What happens if these measures pass and the tax increase puts people in such debt-ridden holes that they are unable to pay the money on their property taxes? (Builders backing schools, Feb. 10)

Not only does it ultimately kill them and other markets, but then the schools don't see any money either.

So to protect the community (i.e. schools), we are willing to put people out of a life and a home. Seems like a cycle that leads to another problem: another measure, where the state will want to institute another tax to solve another problem. Where does it end?

Ryan Arditi

Southwest Portland

Future is worth the investment

As a student at Lincoln High School, I'm very concerned about the condition of my education. Currently my school is crumbling after standing for nearly 60 years, and the ancient boiler is on the verge of giving out on us. Furthermore, my class sizes are getting so big that I rarely get one-on-one time with my teacher.

This is unacceptable. I should not have to compete with other students who attend modernized schools. My generation deserves a fair education. Therefore, the bond and levy need to be passed in May. Our future is worth the investment.

Santana Silver

Southwest Portland

Taxpayers already overburdened

While I can understand and empathize with the building and construction industry, I am hesitant to support the Portland Public School's bond measure - especially considering our current housing crisis (Builders backing schools, Feb. 10). How can the district suggest homeowners pay more taxes when the value of our land and homes has diminished?

Steven Kelley

Northeast Portland

Builders worried about own pockets

Of course they will back the school bond measure(s). I would too if I could invest $10,000 to $25,000 for a chance at a multi-million dollar contract (Builders backing schools, Feb. 10).

What is that, something like a 100 to 1,000 percent gain?

I'm sure they could care less about the schools being upgraded, but they sure care about their own pockets. What about the large increase in my property taxes of approximately $450 before any other bond measures that get passed either in May or November?

Oh, by the way, you renters out there who don't believe that you pay property taxes - guess again. Your landlord pays taxes and you in turn pay them in your rent. How about a $35 to $50 bump in your monthly rent as soon as the measure(s) pass, which will include a portion of their property tax plus a little extra just to make sure they don't miss out on their profit?

John R. Lee

Northeast Portland

School bond helps all students

It's great the business community supports the school bond (Builders backing schools, Feb. 10). Our kids deserve better than crumbling buildings with outdated heating, plumbing and electricity. And the school bond helps every student. Some schools get rebuilt, others get roof upgrades or new boilers, updated science labs, etc.

Nathan Means

Northeast Portland