From The Portland Oregonian: Unable to persuade voters to approve a bond request, the Portland (Ore.) school board has decided to borrow to $45 million to buy Rosa Parks Elementary, pay off a $26 million loan for roof repairs and replace outdated burners in 47 schools' heating systems. Rosa Parks School was built in 2006 using a complex financing plan that relied on investors who benefited from federal tax credits. The district has been leasing the school from the investors for $42,000 a month and planned all along to buy it by October 2012 for $9 million. The district does not have a concrete plan for how to repay the debt but expects to get a low interest rate. Officials expect to pay back much or all of the loan with proceeds from a bond election, which has yet to be planned.
From The Portland Oregonian: Portland (Ore.) School Superintendent Carole Smith, the district's lawyer and four other high-ranking employees have each paid a $75 fine for breaking state elections law by giving voters biased information about a proposed school construction bond. State investigators found all six broke state law by writing, signing or approving fliers, emails, web postings or other documents that used persuasive language, images or techniques to try to sway the public in favor of the bond. The $548 million proposal was defeated in May.
AUGUST 2011...from The Portland Oregonian: A state investigation has concluded that eight employees of Portland (Ore.) school system, including Superintendent Carole Smith and the district's top lawyer, broke state election laws by trying to sway voters to vote for a school construction bond earlier this year. The officials all had a hand in writing, editing or approving fliers, emails and web site postings that the state concluded were biased in favor of the $548 million bond or which omitted the bond's likely full costs to taxpayers. The bond was narrowly defeated, garnering a 49.8 percent "yes" vote.
MAY 2011...From The Portland Oregonian: Voters in the Portland (Ore.) school district appear to have defeated a proposed $548 million bond to upgrade school buildings. But the vote is extremely close, with "no" votes outnumbering the "yes" votes by just 1,515 votes out of 102,000 votes counted so far. The measure would have fully rebuilt eight aging schools and made smaller fixes and updates at the other 77 in the district.
DECEMBER 2010...from The Portland Oregonian: The Portland (Ore.) school board has decided to place a $548 million bond proposal before voters in May. The money would enable the district to remodel or rebuild nine schools: Cleveland, Roosevelt and Jefferson high schools; East Sylvan Middle School; Laurelhurst, Marysville, Rigler and Faubion K-8 schools; and Markham Elementary School.
NOVEMBER 2010...from The Portland Oregonian: Portland (Ore.) school district leaders want to put a $548 million bond measure before voters next year. The money would enable the district to completely renovate eight schools and upgrade the other 75, Portland Superintendent Carole Smith says. If the proposal gets on the May ballot and is approved, it would represent by far the largest local bond measure ever approved in Oregon.