Work installing electronic locks on doors and other security measures at some Portland schools will be delayed until summer 2020, extending the original spring 2020 timeline.
Portland Public Schools officials say they’ve been unable to secure a “usable bid,” so they will re-bid the project in the winter.
Beverly Cleary parents have expressed concern about the delayed upgrades, and a lack of communication and transparency with the district’s challenge finding contractors.
“You’re not dealing with the community in a trustworthy manner,” parent Morgan West said.
PPS officials said they take student safety seriously.
“While this timeline may feel longer than people want, we want to ensure each step is done carefully and we provide safe schools for all of our students,” PPS spokesperson Karen Werstein said.
Construction is underway on security upgrades at 26 Portland schools, with design starting at another 31.
The security upgrades include electronic locks for front entrances, signs directing school visitors to the main office, and public address system speakers in hallways.
The security work is funded by $5 million from the 2017 PPS bond passed by voters. Bond funds also paid for asbestos remediation and to deal with lead problems.
Some PPS parents express concern that the district may redirect funds to other projects. In response to that concern, PPS said the Bond Accountability Committee is meant to ensure all priorities are funded and addressed.
Much of the bond’s $790 million is going toward rebuilds of four large schools.