Eric Fruits on Portland Schools

ICLE Senior Scholar Eric Fruits was quoted by The Oregonian on Portland voters unwillingness to raise property taxes to support the public school system. You can read the full piece here.

Voters are acutely aware of a host of other local and regional taxes and levies that have won approval in the past five years, some of which have been slow to yield measurable results, said Eric Fruits, an economics professor at Portland State University who has sent four children to Portland’s public schools.

“The mantra I have heard is that people don’t mind paying taxes if they feel like they are getting something out of it,” Fruits said. Portland Public Schools has touted its rebounding test scores and graduation rates as proof that things are getting better, he said, but the message is blurry, especially, Fruits said, if voters think, fairly or not, that the system has simply lowered the bar instead of raising achievement.

“People are saying, ‘We are giving enough. Now you need to show some results,’” he added.