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School tours prelude to district bond discussion

Don't understand why the schools are always looking for money? Still wondering about the connection between facility condition and student learning? Wondering about earthquake safety in the schools, or what those old boilers really like? Want a tour of the newest Portland Public Schools building, just six years old?

This month through March, PPS leaders are inviting residents into the schools through a series of nine public events as part of the district's long-range facilities planning process.

The sessions are designed for information gathering, to invite people to ask questions of the experts in school finance, facilities, architecture and conservation.

District leaders hope to engage parents, students, neighbors and community members in the process.

After the work is done, the school board could resume discussions about floating a school construction bond on the ballot, but there are no immediate talks about that process.

Here is the schedule:

• Tour of Rosa Parks, Jan. 24, 7 p.m., Rosa Parks Elementary School

Architect John Weekes leads a tour of the newest school in Portland Public Schools. Rosa Parks was designed for and enjoys active community. It has flexible common spaces for each cluster of classrooms, a dedicated space for parents near the front door and building innovations to reduce energy use.

• The Inside Story on PPS Maintenance, Jan. 25, 7 p.m., Grant High School

PPS Director of Facilities Tony Magliano details what's involved to protect the health and safety of students and maintain an adequate learning environment. Topics include roofs, electrical systems and heating systems as well as the process for identifying maintenance priorities.

• Buildings and Learning 101, Jan. 26, 7 p.m., Madison High School

PPS Chief Operating Officer C.J. Sylvester and Director of Facilities Tony Magliano report on the condition of school district buildings, talk about research on the relationship between building conditions and student achievement, and provide an overview of seismic, accessibility and related financial issues, as well as answer questions.

• Buildings and Learning 101, Feb. 2 7 p.m. Wilson High School

PPS Chief Operating Officer C.J. Sylvester and Director of Facilities Tony Magliano report on the condition of school district buildings, talk about research on the relationship between building conditions and student achievement, and provide an overview of seismic, accessibility and related financial issues, as well as answer questions.

• School Funding and Finance, Feb. 7, 7 p.m., Blanchard Education Service Center

PPS Deputy Chief Financial Officer David Wynde deciphers the state school funding formula, explain the difference between capital funds and operating funds, and answer questions about school budgets and financial matters.

• Buildings and Learning 101, Feb. 8, 7 p.m., Jefferson High School - Middle College for Advanced Studies

PPS Chief Operating Officer C.J. Sylvester and Director of Facilities Tony Magliano report on the condition of school district buildings, talk about research on the relationship between building conditions and student achievement, and provide an overview of seismic, accessibility and related financial issues, as well as answer questions.

• Green Schools, Feb. 23, 7 p.m., Vernon PK-8 School

PPS Resource Conservation Specialist Nancy Bond and Energy Specialist Jeff Hammond will talk about what's being done and what is planned to make our schools more environmentally sustainable.

• Buildings and Learning 101, Feb. 29, 7 p.m., Franklin High School

PPS Chief Operating Officer C.J. Sylvester and Director of Facilities Tony Magliano report on the condition of school district buildings, talk about research on the relationship between building conditions and student achievement, and provide an overview of seismic, accessibility and related financial issues, as well as answer questions.

• Earthquakes and Schools, March 14, 7 p.m., Blanchard Education Service Center

Learn about seismic activity in our region, implications for older buildings, seismic work accomplished with the PPS 1995 bond measure and additional work that needs to be done.

For more info: pps.k12.or.us.

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