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Portland Public Schools Local Option Levy 26-84

Pdxschools You've probably seen the yard signs around Portland, but what does it really mean?  Mama Picture This sent us some factoids so we can spread the word on this measure for the upcoming election.  For more information, visit:  http://www.hope4schools.org/ .

Why do Portland Schools need a local option levy?  The Portland Public Schools Local Option Levy will pay for 380 teaching positions (including some in every school) and for updated curriculum and materials. These teaching positions will help to prevent overcrowded classrooms and will allow teachers to spend more time with students who need individual assistance. The levy will also provide up-to-date textbooks, workbooks, and teaching materials as well as vocational and technical classes that provide skills that prepare students for the workplace.

What happened to the previously approved local option levy? Portland voters approved a local option levy for schools in 2000 but it expired last year.

Will money from this levy be spent on administration? No. Oregon Law requires school districts to spend local option levy funds only for the purposes that are specified on the ballot. None of the money will be spent on administration.

How do I know the money will go to the classrooms? An independent citizen oversight committee will monitor the spending to be sure it all goes to teachers, classrooms, learning materials, educational programs and curriculum. Does PPS spend more than other districts on administration? A report by the independent Chalkboard Project shows Portland Public Schools spends just 1% of its budget on central administration.. This is significantly lower than the statewide average of 3%.

How has student achievement at PPS changed in recent years? In 2005 student achievement as measured by standardized tests went up for every grade level and every subject at Portland Public Schools. In 2006, PPS SAT scores were up as well.

Don’t we pay a local income tax for schools? Not any more. The Multnomah County Income Tax (I-Tax) was approved by county voters in 2003 and was collected for three years. It expired on December 31, 2005.

Will money from this levy be diverted to other school districts in the state?  No. Under the Oregon Law that authorizes local option levies, none of the money goes to Salem for “equalization”. All of the money from Measure 26-84 will go to Portland schools.

How much money will Portland schools receive through Measure 26-84?  The Portland Public Schools Local Option Levy will raise $33 million in 2007 – 2008.

How much will it cost?  Property owners will pay $1.25 per year on each thousand dollars of assessed value. The median assessed value for Portland homes is $124,000 (half are higher and half are lower). The local option tax on a typical home (median assessed value) is $155 per year or $12.92 per month.

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