“Equity” Budget = Cuts to Poor Schools

Now that we’re supposedly examining every policy move through the “lens of equity,” you might expect there to be some changes to the FTE formula to help out the schools that have suffered dramatic program cuts under the radical PPS student transfer policy and a decade of failed market-based experiments.

But if you expected that, you’d be sorely disappointed.

Reports are trickling in from all around the district of real and effective cuts in FTE budget, even as schools are faced with new mandates to offer more “enrichment.” At Madison High, they are facing a cut of 2 FTE positions, even as they add eighth grade. This adds up to an effective cut of 3-4 FTE positions for 9-12.

At Jefferson, it is rumored that they will be losing upwards of eight FTE positions, with more positions shifted away from the (supposedly) merging 9-12 school to the gender-segregated academies.

At Peninsula Elementary, they’re getting an addtional 1.27 FTE positions. But one of those is used up for the “enrichment” requirement, and they’re also adding eighth grade. Adding a middle school grade with .27 FTE is tricky, to put it in the most charitable light.

Now comes word, from a parent e-mail list, that Ockley Green is losing nine positions next year:

Those positions include the Vice Principal, the Disciplinarian, one secretary, one physical education teacher, 2 educational assistant positions, 2 retiring teacher positions not being filled, 1/2 of the counselor and 1/2 of the librarian’s position.

A true focus on equity would assure that the real cost of open transfers would no longer be shifted in terms of reduced opportunities onto students who chose not to (or are unable to) transfer. The district, if they intend to keep the transfer policy in place, needs to bear its full cost and quit cutting programs in our poorest schools.

PPS needs to step up and define, implement, and guarantee a comprehensive educational experience for all students in every neighborhood of Portland. Then we can talk about equity. Until then, it’s just an empty buzz word.

Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

1 Comment

PPS Proposes PK-8 Parental Involvement Plan

The school district has proposed a time line and process for parental involvement in the PK-8 transition. Here is the text of an e-mail sent from PPS administrator Sara Allan to PTA representatives:

Dear PTA representatives,

As announced by Superintendent Smith in early March, PPS has kicked off an action team to develop a consistent model and set of standards around what successful PK-8 and middle schools need to look like within the PPS system. This team, led by Harriet Adair, Area Director of the Grant Cluster and interim head of the Office of Schools, has been charged with the development of a district wide plan for PK-8 education by June. The goal of the plan is to ensure that all PK-8 and Middle Schools are building a robust program that enables all students to leave 8th grade ready to be successful in high school. The team is comprised of principals from all levels of PK-12, as well as representatives from district support services. See the attached slides (36KB PDF) which outline our team’s charter in more detail.

We greatly appreciated hearing your thoughts regarding the current strengths and challenges facing your PK-8 schools back in February, and your input has helped to shape the team’s workplan. We would like to set up a process to have parent representatives from the PK8 and middle schools engage in the
development of the plan as the team moves forward. The PPS internal team is meeting to specify the beginning elements of the plan in the next few weeks. As such, we want to set up several points for parents to respond and give input. We hope to develop a rough strawman of a PK-8 program model in the next couple of weeks which we could then share in written format online by the end of the first week of April. We could then set up a parent input session in mid to late April to gather specific comments on it. We’d then go back and do more work and do another session, likely in mid-late May.

Stay tuned for more information about upcoming meetings. In the meantime, any ideas or feedback you have before we get together face to face about the
process or the focus of the team’s work are welcome. Feel free to contact me by email, or phone at 503 916 3047.

We look forward to working together with you.


Sara Allan

Sara Allan
HR Operations
& Organizational Development
Portland Public Schools

p. 503 916 3047
f. 503-916-3110

Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.