Faced with a choice of two proposals, Portland voters came out overwhelmingly in support of a $64 million bond Tuesday night to renovate four of the city’s public elementary schools.
Nearly two-thirds of Portland residents supported the project, which will renovate the city’s Longfellow, Reiche, Presumpscot and Lyseth elementary schools. Currently, the schools have problems such as overcrowding and unmet structural issues.
Voters chose the four-school plan over a second proposal at half the cost, which would have only fixed two of the elementary schools and then waited on potential state funding to possibly cover the rest.
Emily Figdor is a Portland parent and co-founder of the political action committee Protect Our Neighborhood Schools, which supported the larger bond. She said the renovations were badly needed to provide similar educational opportunities across the district.
“So ensuring that every child in Portland, no matter where they live, can go to a safe, 21st century school. It’s really the best news for Portland children in a generation,” she said. “All four of these schools are really the center of the communities around them. So now we really have the opportunity to see those buildings transformed.”
In a statement on Tuesday night, Portland’s superintendent and school board chair said the district will immediately begin planning out the next steps in the renovation process.