I largely agree with the spin PPS is putting on its proposed $548 million bond measure: investments in schools are good for economies, communities and property values.
But I have one question: nowhere in the coverage of this proposal have I heard a single thing about what I have been assuming is the number one priority in terms of PPS's facilities need - making sure that most school buildings don't fall down upon Portland's children when the big earthquake hits - so what gives?
From academic literature we know that making schools fancier is not going to help student performance substantially other than perhaps attracting and keeping good students (peer effects are huge). So, if I am thinking about priorities, the fact that we are due for a major earthquake that could cause devastating structural failures makes me think I would rather ensure kids safety first.
The fact that this is not being mentioned at all makes me suspect that PPS does not want to have this discussion at the same time. But they should. It is all about marginal benefit and marginal cost.