The health risks in Portland Public Schools buildings could cost upwards of $400 million to repair, including almost $200 million just to fix plumbing problems.
That’s a ballpark figure from district officials, who expect to learn more as lead test results come in this summer.
Communities across the Northwest were shocked recently to discover dangerously high lead levels in their water. How did this happen, and what’s being done to fix the problem?
School board members in Oregon’s largest district have been considering whether to seek a November bond measure aimed at rebuilding three high schools, at a combined cost of over $600 million.
But there’s a limit to how much voters will approve. Plans for the bond may have to change in the wake of news that at least several schools have elevated levels of lead in the water, says board member and bond committee chair Amy Kohnstamm.
“If we are going to go forward with health and safety priority for the bond, it looks like we would only proceed with two full modernizations for the high schools,” she said.
The bond committee intends to make recommendations next month. The full board would then vote on whether to refer a bond to the ballot this fall.
PPS Superintendent Carole Smith announced Tuesday that she will retire at the end of the next school year.