KEEP Benson Polytechnic High School on 2016 Purposed PPS Bond Measure!

Put Students Lives First!

Please help us make sure our students, faculty & administration have a SAFE & HEALTHY Learning Environment!  Of the three high schools being considered for full or partial funding on the 2016 Bond Measure, Benson Polytechnic High School is the oldest school, with the greatest amount of URM (Unreinforced Masonry) Seismic Retrofit Requirements identified by the City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services and Portland Development Commission.

Over the last several months alumni, parents, students, faculty, administration and community members have been meeting monthly as a Master Planning Committee at the direction of Portland Public School District (PPS).   This committee sought and incorporated public comment in the development of a master plan for the remodel of Benson Polytechnic High School.  

At no time were we told by PPS:

  • That there was a cost ceiling for the project despite asking multiple times whether such a ceiling existed during this planning phase.
  • That our target enrollment number of 1700 could be reduced in order to resize the building and reduce the renovation cost.

Concerns we considered during this process include, but are not limited to:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act requirements
  • Life & Safety Compliance
  • Historic Building Compliance
  • Student, Faculty and Administration Needs
  • An Athletic Field
  • Increasing Enrollment cap
  • Career Technical Education (CTE) Pathway Upgrades
  • Hands on Teaching Approach via CTE’s
  • Focus Option School
  • Underserved Populations
  • Host of Summer & Night High School for District
  • Open 14 hours a day to students
  • Wellness Center

This brainstorming and planning was done in parallel to the similar MPC work at Lincoln High School and Madison High School.    The goal of the process was to develop the 2016 Bond Measure for the November 2016 Ballot. 

On Tuesday, July 5, 2016 the PPS School Board Sub-Committee met to discuss their recommendation for the 2016 Bond Measure.  The final vote is scheduled for July 25, 2016, by the PPS School Board.

The Sub-Committee has proposed:

  • A $750 million bond to property tax holders in Multnomah County 2016 ballot
  • Approval for Lincoln & Madison High Schools modernization plans in full amounts
  • Approval for a $20 million renovation to Kellogg Elementary School
  • Approval for $300 million in environmental improvements to numerous schools
  • Proposal for a Phased Multi-Bond rebuild for Benson Polytechnic High School

        Benson MPC has the following concerns with the Multi-Bond           Phased Approach:

        1. District/School Board CANNOT guarantee Benson                       Polytechnic would be placed on the next bonds.

        2. Next year we will have a new superintendent and board.

        3.  Our building is NOT SAFE for students in the event of a             major earthquake.

Details from the Latest PPS Public Polling:

  • Public expresses overwhelming concern for student health and safety.  So this leads to a decision that  half the bond should be dedicated to those areas
  • Results showed 59% of voters would approve a nearly $800 million bond
  • CTE Programs are popular, 58% of the poll participants are in favor CTE curriculum
  • 58% of Voters viewed Benson as their favorite on the bond, preference for Madison was at 34%, and Lincoln's was at 33%.


Make Benson Polytechnic High School a PRIORITY based on Facts not Political Reasons:

1. Life & Safety Compliance

  • City of Portland Emergency Management Staff reported that PPS has over 30 schools with various levels of URM ratings in the city of Portland.
  • Benson Polytechnic was rated a #2 (1-5 scale 1 being catastrophic) – Page 24 of report under 515 NE 15th Address.  (Lincoln & Madison are not on the report) 
  • Benson High School's Condition was defined as Poor during the discovery work for  the 2012 bond measure
  • Lincoln & Madison were listed as fair.   
  • Benson High School main building is over 100 years old and is listed as Oregon Historical Building. If Portland goes through a severe earthquake there is a high probability that Benson High School will experience Loss of Life & Severe Injuries and its buildings would be either destroyed or would require significant rebuilds. 

2. Save the Proposed Enrollment Increase to 1700 Students:

  • During the last 3 years Benson Polytechnic has turned away approximately 400-500 student applicants due to the PPS enrollment cap
  • While PPS has slowly increased the enrollment cap it’s not fast enough to support the demand for the high school.

By signing this Petition you will be helping Students of Benson Polytechnic High School to stay SAFE & continue to thrive in an Interactive Hands-On Learning Environment.

Thank you,

Master Planning Committee – Benson Polytechnic High School

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