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Portland City Council discusses improvements to elementary schools

The Portland City Council is looking at how to pay for tens of millions of dollars in school improvements. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) – The Portland City Council is looking at how to pay for tens of millions of dollars in school improvements.

This will be the seventh effort to improve Portland elementary schools since the mid-90s. This time, Portland officials have been looking at the issue and the effect it would have on local taxpayers for more than a year.

They will not vote directly on the issue Monday night, instead at the city council meeting, the council will vote on whether Portlanders should be allowed to decide the issue as a ballot initiative.

The board will look at three different options on how to renovate the schools.

The first is borrowing $64 million on the bond market to fix all four schools, Presumpscot, Longfellow, Reich and Lyseth.

Some of the council members have expressed concern with that plan, saying it would put too much of a burden on tax payers, but that plan is something Mayor Ethan Strimling has been pushing for some time.

The second option is spending $32 million to fix two schools, while seeking state funding to fix the others.

The third plan would be borrowing $24 million to repair just one school, Lyseth.

Voters could see all, none or some of these options on a future ballot.

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