Those voicing opposition to the latest South Portland High School renovation plan assert that millions of dollars would be wasted and identify improvements that might be postponed for the short term. But these arguments miss a fundamental point. Anyone who votes no on Nov. 2 is not voting for a scaled-down renovation that avoids “waste.” Those who vote no are voting for no renovation at all.
In 2007, South Portland voters rejected a bond proposal to raise $56 million for improvements to the city’s only high school. Since then, the condition of the school has continued to deteriorate, prompting the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to place the school on warning status.
This time voters will determine whether to borrow for a $47.3 million redesigned overhaul. This revised building plan is the product of a long and careful process that included two independent peer reviews to balance community and educational needs with the impact on taxpayers.
Voting for the $41.5 million bond will enable South Portland to fix the high school’s health and safety deficiencies, save energy, improve security, and promote a 21st century education for the city’s youth. And the renovation has broad implications for the city that extend beyond education quality. The status of a city’s high school influences economic development, property values, and the mix of community programs and opportunities available for all community members. Nov. 2 is the time to vote yes.
Dawn Roberts & Alison Jacoby