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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 27, 2011 8:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was A tale of two nuke blowouts. The next post in this blog is The Portland water empire eats away at a park. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Big chunks of Portland school tax to go for athletic fields

The come-ons for the construction portion of the upcoming Portland school tax bond measures do a lot of talking about student safety, including abatement of fire hazards and asbestos. But as this story in the O last month points out, several millions of the bond funds would go to replace grass fields next to the city's high schools with synthetic turf. According to the story, $1.6 million of bond funds would go for a turf field at Franklin, another $1.6 million for turf at Madison, $1.6 million for turf at Grant, $800,000 for turf at Wilson, and $800,000 for turf at Lincoln. That's $6.4 million total.

Not that new fields are a bad thing, but don't buy the suggestion that all the new property taxes are going to be dedicated to keeping tiles from falling on little Molly's head in gym class.

Comments (17)

Not only turf on fields, for which there is a respectable argument . (Lower long term field maintenance costs, leaving the few maintenance dollars available to actually go to building maintenance), but the real joker in the deck is the tithing from the bond proceeds to the city for bike stuff on streets dajacent to schools.

The fields are an arguably appropriate expenditure.

Tithing to the City for work that should come from City general fund dollars for street improvement is a frace.

It is hard to believe PPS can't maintain natural turf in one of the most prolific turf producing regions of the country. But they have all but admitted that maintenance has never been a priority.

I'd vote no on this bond measure if I could, but I moved to Washington County to lower my cost of living.

The ceiling tile thing gives me a chuckle. I went to Duniway Elementary about 30 years ago and I remember tiles falling off of the gym ceiling then. But now it's a crisis.

If the construction bond passes (26-121), it's a bad sign for future tax requests. This is the largest bond tax measure to be requested by local government in Oregon history. Government and corporations will sense they can always join forces to squeeze more out of city of Portland citizens. 26-121 is like giving crack cocaine to a cocaine addict. Instead of being forced to be economic in building and teaching, PPS will lavish construction and architecture companies with lucrative contracts. When its quickly gone, PPS will be back for even more (of a public spending "fix").

Imagine the savings if we got rid of the "mascot"-based school sports and associated junk.

I played several sports in high school, but enough--ditch them, make schools academic institutions only, and you'll save hundreds of millions in real estate and maintenance costs (and needs). The students that can afford high school sports can afford neighborhood and club sports. The problem is, too many people's tender egos and histories are wrapped up in mascots and nostalgia--and even *grade school* kids are being encouraged to engage in full-contact sports like football. We've lost our minds.

And, pro sports teams have lobbied states quietly to encourage that high school sports remain, because they need a farm team for future college and pro players.

Enough. Make schools places of true excellence--make them *academies* where students go to work hard and excel, not be babysat in rooms of 40 or more and where we blame the teachers for not babysitting our children well enough.

Tour Cleveland High's (Powell & SE 33rd) new athletic complex for a suggestion of what may be in mind for other high schools.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, school reconstruction takes a turn not mentioned by the PPS regressives:

"In one of Seattle's most urban neighborhoods, a small elementary school is trying to wean itself off the city's water grid.

The classroom toilet composts and treats waste on site rather than flushing it into city sewer pipes. Water washed down sinks doesn't flow into storm drains but recirculates to a 14-foot-high wall filled with plants, which will eventually soak it all up. For now, excess flows through the wall."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110424/ap_on_re_us/us_off_water_grid

How much of the projected maintenance levy is budgeted for planned, exorbitant hikes in water and sewerage assessments? Taxpayers, who are paying far too much for their own water and sewerage, are expected to cover the high costs of water and sewerage by institutional consumers. Perhaps the switch to artificial turf would diminish those cost increases, but who can say for sure?

Astroturf in Portland is absurd.

Agreed Allan L. What the heck is wrong with grass?
This emphasis on mascot sports that don't do much except enrich Nike and Rebok makes me sick and tired!
The emphasis should be on putting some basic knowledge into the heads of these kids not, knocking it out with high contact sports.
If the big time sports manufacturers want to have their equipment used in the schools to promote themselves make them pay for the fields, the transportation, the equipment, the coaches and everything else related to these sports! These big time sportls promoters have been using the taxpayer funded facilities from kindergarten to college as their personal farm teams for years.
Enough already!

I agree with Bob Clark on the importance of this bond measure on all other bond measures in the future. I believe this is a turning point for the city. If voters go for this bond, as expensive and ill-timed as it is, they'll got for anything (as they've gone for everything in the past), and it will signal, finally, the end of Portland as a fit place for middle-class people to live -- the assault on income and common sense will be just too much. If, on the other hand, voters reject this measure, it signals that they can see past the slick sales pitches of their "leaders", and they expect to see fiscal sanity, on this and other issues, going forward.

I am neither hopeful nor unhopeful about the outcome of this vote, but I believe it's importance goes way beyond schools.

But, the biggest chunks go to out-of-state construction firms.

How about our beloved Trailblazers coughing up some dough for a field or two , what up Brandon , you got the Max Deal , these kids worship you. I know you take it home to Seattle.

billb - a couple of years ago, the Blazers (probably with support from Nike) refinished all the gym floors in PPS high schools. I think there was other work done as well, such as painting and some new lighting.

A dollar for an athletic field is a dollar not in the classroom. Sell the fields, put them back to property tax paying status, use the additional property tax to further the schools. Between the money from selling the fields, the money not spent on the athletics programs (maintenance and operations) and the new property tax revenue, there's plenty of classroom money.

Then aggressively fight the rash of LIDs to pay for the Streetcar...

Before long, the schools will have so much money they won't know how to spend it.

portland native:If the big time sports manufacturers want to have their equipment used in the schools to promote themselves make them pay for the fields, the transportation, the equipment, the coaches and everything else related to these sports!

Agree!
Our public lands are not to be used for free for the benefit of the "big time" sports manufacturers, etc. Of course, they can always use "this is for the kids" theme and people fall all over, one dare not speak against this.
Remember Leonard wanting Lents Park land for the stadium.
Imagine coming next will be the huge wave of promotion of soccer in the schools and parks to get young ones needed to pay to go to the (Merritt Paulson) stadium games.
Not against sports, but these huge concerns need to buy their own land for promotion not chip away at small neighborhood parks.
But, hey, the use of free land (public school land and public park land) is always good for these groups who want land to promote their special interests!!

.....And don't forget the 2 million going for bike paths and boulevards.

Since the mid 1990s to 2005 PPS has spent over $65 Million on seismic upgrades. In the early 90's a full seismic review of every school was made and we passed bonds to do the work. Even since 2005 additional $Millions have been spent.

So now the proposed tax bond includes over $8 Million in seismic upgrades. The For-Construction- Bond Committee has conveniently used the god-fearing SEISMIC monkey as a means to cry "danger"-we are endangering our children. We've already paid for this bogeyman. How many times do we need to??

A careful review of all the major expenditure for this bond needs to be studied by voters. There are a lot of suspect items, and many that are questionable at the deficit times we are in. We need a "Think About It Committee".
Sam would like that.

Lee:...We've already paid for this bogeyman. How many times do we need to??...

Same as lands, how many times do we the public pay for the same lands? Parks can buy the land from schools, and then county from parks and etc.

A careful review done with integrity seems to be absent in so many arenas.


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