PORTLAND, Ore. – Mayor Sam Adams went back to school Wednesday, as he does every first day of school.
He spoke of his accomplishments in public education, and what he wants to see happen during his final months in office.
Mayor Adams started his day by greeting students at Benson Polytechnic High School. He also took part in a news conference that included Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith. The mayor called for voters to approve a major bond measure on the November ballot designed to upgrade school facilities for efficiency and earthquake safety.
“You know this school looks pretty solid but it suffers from great deficits,” said the mayor, speaking about Benson’s buildings. Adams also supports a November measure that restores arts education in elementary schools.
On a trip to Parkrose High School, Adams, who promised to make supporting education a priority, said people were starting to see improvements. He credited work by the city, school districts, community groups and students.
“Deep change, good deep change is years in the making and all the projects that people are seeing in the last year, we started those the first months in office,” said Adams.
At Parkrose High School, the mayor told students about a city-initiated local college scholarship program, called Future Connect. He explained how students could take advantage of the program which is in its second year.
“You gotta register and you gotta stay in school and you gotta work hard at it,” said Adams.
Adams listed education accomplishments including merging school foundations into one unified group, increasing accountability and graduation rates, and kicking in $7.5 million in his final budget as mayor, to support Portland school districts.
Asked if he thought people appreciated his work on education and other issues during his single term in office, the mayor said it didn’t matter.
“I don’t give a damn about my legacy. I care most about what we get done. And I went after a lot of the unsexy geeky but incredibly important stuff,” he said.