Martha Perez

City Commissioner #4

(This is part of PPS Equity‘s Election ’08 coverage. Some questions are abbreviated here. Please see the main Election ’08 page for the full questions, the full list of candidates and election information.)

1. When was the last time you visited a public school in Portland? What was the purpose of your visit?

I visited earlier this year in 2008, to ask questions about resources for students of high-school age.

2. Do you have any children or other relatives enrolled in Portland Public Schools?

Yes, my daughter Martha (Jr) is a sophomore at Lincoln High School.

3. Did you attend Portland Public Schools?

Yes, I am a graduate with high honors, of Simon Benson Polytechnic High School.

4. …If elected, will you do anything to hold the school district accountable to the Flynn/Blackmer audit?

Absolutely. I feel that part of the reason why our schools suffer, is due to those policies that are not transparent, accountable and timely. We owe our public school system a transfer process that is fair, honest and does not contribute to negative images.

5. …If elected, how will you work with the PPS Board of Education to ensure their policies do not work at cross purposes with city policies?

Our policies haven’t always been consistent with one another and I don’t claim to have answers to our problems; however, the four major points in my campaign are: jobs, healthcare, housing and hunger. I am committed to working with CPPS thru a series of open-door meetings and on-going dialogue, as well as implement those ideas that will lead to better policy alignment, increased effectiveness and in a manner that is timely, rather than further delays. During my administration, over a million more people will be living within my jurisdiction and that includes an increase in a diverse, multi-lingual and mobile student-age K-12 population.

6. School closures and school facility decisions heavily affect the livability of the city. What is the role of the city council in
influencing these decisions?

I believe our job is to facilitate and listen, not dictate. We base our decisions on the best viable options, with appropriate public input from students, parents, educators, administration, school employees, unions, business and other constituency.

7. If PPS puts forth a facilities bond of around a billion dollars, what will be your position on this election?

I am generally in support of this proposal and would encourage other officials to support, as well.

8. What is the specific role of the City Council in helping children in the lower income neighborhoods of Portland?

Our role is to be advocates for all children of Portland, but especially those who reside in disadvantaged neighborhoods. I’m proud of my work with helping to develop the City’s Childrens’ Bill of Rights, testifying last year before State of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongowski about the need for healthcare for Oregon’s most vulnerable uninsured children and I would support an increase in the Childrens’ Investment Fund.

9. …Would you support permanent city supplementary funding, or some kind of local option tax, to bring Portland school funding back to pre-Measure 5 levels?

As a former student of Portland Public Schools, I recall doing my part to organize a campus rally opposed to Measure 5, because we knew that Measure 5 would be disastrous to our school system. As a result of my experience with Measure 5, I would generally support some kind of tax that would prevent further erosion of our educational system; however, let’s be aware that tax payers are extremely wary about further tax increases, so we have to be careful about the way in which we approach this strategy.

10. Do you have any other thoughts on the roll of city government in the governance of our public schools?

I applaud Mayor Tom Potter’s recent decision to re-locate to Jefferson High School; however, we can do even more. I can get more students excited about visiting City Hall and showing them how they can get involved in politics, while at the same time, making it an interesting experience. Many of our students hate politics, because they say it is boring, not relevant and intimidating. I wish to do my part to demonstrate to my students that this does not have to be the case. I would like to influence and inspire these students so that they can be the future agents of change. Thank you.

Comments are closed.

Comments Off on Martha Perez