In the news: teachers “working to the rule”

5:51 pm

Portland Public Schools teachers are currently “working to the rule” to protest stalled contract negotiations, reports the Portland Business Journal.

Portland Public Schools spokesman Matt Shelby could not confirm which schools are actually affected by the work slowdown, but he did say that for the past several weeks teachers as several schools have begun “working to the rule.”

Teacher Erin Quinton had a letter to the editor published in the Oregonian Friday, describing her experience with the slowdown.

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

filed under: Labor Relations, Media

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40 Responses

  1. Comment from David M. Eide:

    Budget transparency, posted on the web? Ever try to read it? Why is it that three (I think) Multnomah accountants were turned away and not given access to records they requested and so they just walked away in frustration? What is the point of Rice Elementary filled with Teachers on Special Assignment? Full pay but don’t work with students? Money was available for two new assistant superintendents and their support staff but not for classrooms? It is time to start putting the needs of students first and have a transparent accounting of the way funds are spent. PPS owes us that much before they ask for more money.

  2. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    An accounting of all “educational consultants” would be good to see, too.

  3. Comment from Steve Buel:

    There used to be a budget document you could look at and then request more specific information on areas you were questioning. Good luck with that these days. The budget seems hidden away on computers someplace.

  4. Comment from David M. Eide:

    It is things like the following that the District does that bothers me: Peter Hamilton, principal at West Sylvan, then Lincoln, he then retires a year or two ago but is kept on the payroll as some kind of a counselor for new principals? Makes absolutely no sense but I suppose it makes cents for Peter? Cents? I should have said big bucks. This kind of waste of funds should be stopped. Better to spend it on students.

  5. Comment from Susan:

    Transparency is certainly currently lacking at PPS these days. Why aren’t current school-by-school statistics available on-line anymore?

    However, I hope everyone with students in PPS takes the time to acknowledge what most teachers and administrators are doing – even during this Work to the Rule Week. Our school sent out a blurb starting that it might seem quieter after school because teachers wouldn’t be volunteering outside their normal work day … but that all previously scheduled meetings, practices, and performances would still take place.

    If the district ever does sell the BESC building, maybe those employees could be housed throughout the district and asked to help with all the non-teaching duties that are part of each school staff’s day. Helping out in offices, manning the libraries, managing lunchtime, supervising recess (especially on indoor recess days ;) , preparing supplies, trouble-shooting computers, mopping up urine and vomit. That would be some creative partnerships.

  6. Comment from ohme:

    As an experienced teacher, working to the rule has been an eye opener. It is NOT possible to complete the tasks “required” of this job in our paid work day. We are constantly giving more time than we are paid for.
    In a year when we are being asked to take pay freezes (which really we have had for the last year since we have not had a new contract for three years) in order to balance the district budget, they want to INCREASE our workday and work year. The district wants to increase the workday and work year, but does not want to pay us anything more. Granted, we already work for free far past what we get paid. But asking for a longer work day and work year with no pay increase during the worst recession Oregon has faced in 20 years is madness. Of course, much of what comes from the district is madness…so why should they treat their teachers sanely?
    The frustration is that this bargaining mess is not mentioned in the media, only the idea that “Everyone has to make sacrifices…”
    Sorry to break it to you district, but we are already sacrificing our time (5-10 hours additional per week unpaid) and our money (average teacher spends $400 per year not reimbursed on job related expenses). These facts do not make it to the media.
    If the district wants sacrifices, perhaps they could give up their Blackberrys, new laptops, and secretaries. I do my job without any of those things.

  7. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    I have been very impressed with how well-organized this action has been to minimize the effects on students. If not for scattered news reports and letters from teachers, most people wouldn’t even know this was going on.

    What a great time to give your children’s teachers an extra “thank you” for all the extra time and effort that’s required to do this job.

    Most teachers will end up going right back to putting in their extra 5-10 hours a week without complaint. Hopefully this action has raised awareness at both the school and district levels, and the district will stop trying to balance the budget by asking teachers to do more for less.

  8. Comment from Scott:

    Questions and comments:

    1. David, could you tell us more about your comment about auditors? I don’t know the story.

    2. The budget may not be easy to read, but it is readily available at the PPS website. On the home page, go to quick links, select budget, and you can download the big pdf.

    3. From what I understand, Steve, Carole Smith is eliminating the educational consultants that have been used for professional development, and using that funding stream to pay for the TOSAs (after eliminating a number of TOSA positions).

    4. Another question for David: what’s wrong with having a mentor for principals? We have a number of principals who aren’t effective. It’s an incredibly hard job. Wouldn’t effective mentoring be a strategic use of funds?

    5. Susan, I agree with you that there’s never been consistent access to stats on the PPS website. If Equity readers were to help me come up with a list of the crucial statistics, I would be willing to work with PPS to see that they are posted in an excel spreadsheet in an easily found webpage. PPS may be in process of heading in that direction, they have been working on redoing the website and are pretty aware of its shortcomings.

    6. Susan, about those folks in the big ugly orange building: do you consider them to be a complete waste? Do you know what they do? Should they be staffing school libraries etc. instead of doing whatever they are doing now? Now, you or I might think that some of those individuals are not as effective as we would wish, but that’s a different discussion.

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time meeting with central office staff over the past few years. They are understaffed as much or more so than schools. Most of the managers work 60 to 80 hours a week.

    I’m not saying that I agree 100 percent with how funds for the Central Office are allocated, but I don’t think we should pretend that there shouldn’t be a decently-funded Central Office.

  9. Comment from David M. Eide:

    Scott:
    A short summary of the article:

    (The Oregonian June 1, 2006)

    Portland Public Schools’ internal auditor is quitting after five months, saying district officials and the board didn’t give her enough independence to meet professional standards.

    Sarah Landis will step down Friday to take a job with Multnomah County, her former employer. The district’s auditor position reports to the school board, but Landis said she’d been told to request information and run purchasing and training requests through the district’s general counsel, Jollee Patterson. She said the arrangement compromised her watchdog role.

    “I just didn’t feel that they were ready to do the kind of independent auditing that I felt that they needed and that the board policy and charter ask for,” Landis said Wednesday. “If I have to keep checking in with someone who doesn’t serve at the board’s will, who serves at the superintendent’s will, that’s really a conflict.”

  10. Comment from Susan:

    Scott,

    Thanks for always trying to make things better instead of “just” complaining ;)

    The school-by-school enrollment and data stats that were available year by year until this year is information the district has but hasn’t managed to put on its website.

    I have experienced first-hand both the amazing talent and unacceptable incompetence of some of the staff at the big orange building. I wasn’t writing that all of those jobs aren’t important (who, after all doesn’t want to get paid!), but merely that the majority of staff housed there never work directly with students in PPS. Having them balance their normal day-to-day responsibilities with those extra burdens that school building staff face, might make a more cohesive district team. I would love to see the IT Dept. become completely mobile and housed at different high schools year to year. Maybe some hands’ on teaching and mentoring would become available. Same with the communications dept. Spread them out with their blackberries in hand and let them become the marketing resource that helps draw non-PPS families back to public schools. A flexible, roaming Superintendent’s team, moving from school to school throughout the year. I bet Super Smith isn’t above supervising a heated game of 4th game four squares during lunch recess.
    And really, why can’t all the special assignment staff at Rice not be placed in buildings where they can help with those extra duties teaching staff have to step up and perform in order to keep students safe and supervised?

  11. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    And now, of course, with the article in the Oregonian today, we find out that Ms. Smith is suggesting 5 furlough days next year. These days were to be student days for 09-10, but were originally (up until this year) staff development days. So, for next year, I am teaching a brand new grade level, but will get NO Professional Development whatsoever. How is this not impacting students?

  12. Comment from David M. Eide:

    Susan: I love your idea about BESC just goes to show what could be possible. We could move the TOSA’s to various schools also instead of keeping them isolated. I think you have planted a seed, may it grow.

    Scott: Mentors for principals? That was supposed to be one of the ideas in the creation of Site Councils at each school. However the councils were given no power and as a result final decisions remained with each principal. Lack of power resulted in lack of interest by others. Perhaps your idea might restore some interest?

  13. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Scott, thanks, the budget document is all there all right. Here are three items I chose at random:
    Student Discipline Services
    $2,345,007

    Non-inst. Pers/Professional Services $2,345,007

    Techinical Services
    $4,085,401

    Almost $9,000,000 with these three line items. So at the budget meetings coming up I should comment like this????

    Well, I think we could cut $350,000 out of non-instr Pers/ Instructional services and need to add $100,000 to technical services. Of course I have no idea what is actually in either so how would I actually understand let alone oversee my school district’s budget process in any meaningful way?

    Can you see where I am coming from?

  14. Comment from Scott:

    David, thanks for the reference. That’s an old article. It’s true the auditor got off to a rough start, but it was more about relationships, not about denial of access to material. I’ve met several times with Dick Tracy, the current auditor, and he has no complaints that I know of, so it seems to have worked itself out.

    Susan, thanks for your reply, sorry if I went a little overboard. I agree that many in the Central Office seem out of touch with schools, so increased contact might very well be helpful. I also think it has to do with hierarchy and policy. As long as we’re wedded to a core curriculum, for example, then professional development will be oriented along those lines, instead of asking teachers and principals what their priorities are. As long as the Central Office activities are evaluated within the hierarchy and not by their “customers” (teachers, principals, parents, students) then the C.O. will be out of touch.

    S. Wilcox, my sympathies. However, most of my teacher friends say they will not miss the P.D. days. Would you have been able to get the support you need from them if they weren’t cut?

    David, I wasn’t aware that site councils were ever supposed to mentor principals. The enabling legislation never touched upon that. If you dig into the archives of the PPS Strategic Plan from ten years ago, you will find recommendations that a site-council like school committee would hire and evaluate principals.

    Steve, agreed. The budget document is a starting point for asking questions. But at least the information is there, and so the questions can be asked. Let me ask you in return: if you were in charge, and I as a citizen wanted you to produce a proposed budget in which every line item was listed with a full explanation of what it funded, which personnel were attached, etc., how long do you think that document would be? How much time and money would it take to put that together? What if it didn’t answer all my questions? How many people would actually pay attention? To me, it seems like a reasonable compromise to put out the current document, and to staff the Citizens Budget Review Committee so that a small group can really dig into the details. It doesn’t make sense to give the broad public a line-item veto–there should be a balance of letting the professionals do their job (they can determine better than me what it takes to keep the computers running), with citizen oversight from the Board and the CBRC. Can you think of a better method?

  15. Comment from Zarwen:

    Does the CBRC get a more detailed version? If not, they should.

  16. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Scott, my standard policy is don’t criticize if I can’t think of a reasonable improvement. The budget could include an explanatory line or two after each item which was not self-explanatory. Hence, “Student Discipline Services” would be followed by a line or two of explanation. It would take almost no time to do this, it would increase transparency a good deal, and it would allow the ordinary citizen to target actual areas he or she might believe needed cuts or additions. Since the budget document is computerized the length is meaningless.

    P.S. “let the professionals do their job” with oversight from the board. I would love to do that, but isn’t this the group which brought us a two-tiered eduational system, the high school small schools, the k-8 and school closure debacle, and schools without libraries, music, P.E., art and recess?

  17. Comment from David M. Eide:

    Scott when you say that the auditor quit because of “relationships” that might be one way to look at what happened. But it seems obvious to me that Sarah quit because she was asked by the school board for an accounting and was blocked by someone in administration, most likely Jollee Patterson. Just because no one is asking hard questions at the moment doesn’t mean all is right with PPS and the transparency of their budget. Giving some gross figure as a line item hides any kind of analysis of expenditures. But like Mark Abrams said not that long ago, “given the reality that the PPS budget is high-stakes politics these days, I don’t find confidence in what they share on line.”

  18. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    I’m troubled by the auditor thing, too. Saying it was “more about relationships” sounds suspiciously like saying Landis wasn’t willing to “go along/get along.”

    2006 was also the year that a joint Multnomah County/City of Portland audit (a.k.a. “Flynn/Blackmer”) slammed the PPS student transfer system as worsening racial isolation and being at odds with strong neighborhood schools. The audit recommended suspension of the transfer lottery until the board clarified the purpose of the student transfer policy. The board has never responded to that audit.

    Having an auditor who “gets along” with the people he or she is auditing may not be the best thing for the system. I don’t know Richard Tracy, but maybe he’s not asking hard questions. That could explain why he has no complaints about his “relationships.”

  19. Comment from Scott:

    Pardon me for poor writing. “Relationships” was not the proper word, that made it sound like it was personal. My memory is a little hazy, but as I recall (and someone who knows better, please correct me) it was more about expectations and protocol. I probably shouldn’t have said anything about it because I don’t have first-hand knowledge.

    David, you write that “no one is asking hard questions at the moment.” Please clarify. Which questions aren’t being asked?

  20. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    The auditor subject is really worthy of it’s own post; maybe I’ll tackle that soon.

    Both Landis and her predecessor, David Dean, had serious issues regarding their independence and access to information. Access and independence are fundamental requirements of a serious audit. To reduce the complaints of two well-regarded audiotrs to a minor issue of “expectations and protocol” is a soft sell.

    The June 2006 Oregonian coverage of the issue is worth a read for those unfamiliar with this flap. The fact that the current auditor is comfortable with the current arrangement doesn’t mean anything has changed (perhaps it has; I’ve seen no evidence either way).

  21. Comment from David M. Eide:

    Steve thank you for posting the Oregonian article, I will have to learn how to do that? Hard questions? Where does the money go? Is it being spent wisely? How is cost per student figured? The administration consumes 3% of the total budget, how is that calculated? Into which figure does the cost of principals go? I have a book that contains over three thousand non-teaching staff are that many support people really necessary? Federal, state and local funds, how are they divided up, what programs do they support? Transparency of the budget would allow the public, school board candidates, the union, teachers, etc. to make better decisions in creating the best learning environment for our students.

  22. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Some more “hard questions”: How many “principals on special assignment” are on the payroll and at what cost? How many of these “POSAs” were ineffective principals and moved out of the way instead of being given support or fired? Why are contracts allowed to be essentially open-ended? Is it true that “Carole Smith is eliminating the educational consultants that have been used for professional development?” (First I’ve heard of that.) If so, how much money remains in the budget for educational consultants for other purposes? What kinds of checks are in place to assure that these jobs are not handed out as political patronage?

    I could go on, but you get the picture. The consultants are especially egregious. Historically, these jobs have been handed out outside of the normal HR channels, and have sometimes been turned into regular jobs, effectively circumventing normal hiring protocol. And they’ve never been transparently, comprehensively accounted for as far as I’m aware (e.g. one line item in the budget accounting for all of them, as opposed to being dispersed throughout the budget).

    These are a few things I can think of off the top of my head that a truly independent auditor ought to be looking into.

  23. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    I checked the PPS website to see if some of David’s questions might be answered there but a brief review of the 171 page proposed budget only raises more questions.

    Does anyone know how the K-8 funding compares to K-5 and 6-8? The district breaks the information down in such a way that it’s almost impossible to compare funding by configuration.

    Also, every year high poverty schools return unused Title I funds to the central office. Historically it’s been between $500,000 and $750,000. Where does that money go? Other than the fact that it would require high schools to meet NCLB requirements, why can’t it be used to support high schools?

    The district got knocked in a recent Title I audit for practically handing a blank check to private schools. Exactly how much has been given away?

    Steve, it would be somewhat easy to argue that there aren’t really “normal HR channels.” In addition to outside contracts being a gateway to employment with PPS, HR offers Limited Term Employment opportunities. These positions are not posted and non-competitive. Administrators hire whoever they want to do whatever they want for what is supposed to be 60 days. That is rarely the case. People would be surprised at the number of temporary employees working for PPS. Where do these employees show up in the budget?

    A thorough audit of HR should be done before employees are required to take furlough days.

  24. Comment from David M. Eide:

    POSA’s? That is a new one for me. I have heard of TOSA’s and DOSA’s but now there are POSA”s? Harriet Adair was a DOSA (Director on Special Assignment) for years with absolutely nothing to do. The common response to her name was, “Who?” There is a rumor that Carole moved her into a position that had some responsibility so that she could be evaluated for what purpose I have no idea? On another note: I am totally impressed by the knowledge displayed by others on this site, too good. May it continue and grow.

  25. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Scott, Thank you for trying to be all to everyone. As a teacher I do appreciate the professional development. True, not all is helpful, but much of it is. And now I will spend much of my (UNPAID) summer doing my own PD.

  26. Comment from Nancy R.:

    As a new hire, the PD days have been extremely valuable to me. I am a half-time library assistant (classified staff) who is running a library alone with little training. Between duty and classes, I would not be freed up any other times to do training. I have been doing research and trainings on my own time, just to keep up to speed.

  27. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    This is exactly my point. What other profession do they not pay for training that directly applies to the job that you do? How are they justifying cutting this expense? Taking a class at PSU is one thing, but getting trained in the use of new curriculum (which these PD days used to do)is a must. Shame on you PPS!

  28. Comment from Ruth Adkins:

    While I can’t comment on negotiations with PAT, there’s a number of other budget-related points I’d like to weigh in on.

    In the FAO (finance audit and operations) committee we’ve been in the process of reviewing a number of budget issues including staffing, how federal stimulus $ will be used including new $ for Title 1 and special ed, TOSAs, consultant expenditures, etc. We’re looking forward to the CBRC’s report and recommendations next Monday and will be issuing our own report to the board prior to the approval of the budget on June 8.

    A few points in response to some of the budget issues raised in earlier comments:

    * The Sup’t announced on Thursday a central office reorg – per her budget message, “streamlining senior leadership and central administration, resulting in the net elimination of six or more full-time senior positions.” I don’t know specifics yet, but more info is coming soon as she will be implementing first phase by end of June.

    * The TOSAs are being moved out to the schools, with the intention of better supporting students/schools while still having central accountability.

    * I don’t think anyone wants to eliminate PD that is useful and helpful to teachers and staff. There aren’t really any good choices when we have to fill a $32 million hole in next year’s budget. In addition to the ongoing negotiations with PAT, the board is weighing the trade-offs of cutting days, using reserves, etc. as well as looking at various smaller-impact budget cuts that can help close the gap. Unfortunately, the hole is big enough that we cannot shield teachers and students from the impact.

    * The approx 4% for central admin does not include principals and other staff based at schools. It includes everyone working at BESC which means the Supt/senior team, office of schools (curriculum, special ed, ESL, etc.), facilities, IT, communications, HR, enrollment/transfer office, budget/finance, warehouse, and so on. While there is always room for improvement in how the org does business (and I see Carole moving things in the right direction), this is actually pretty lean for a district of our size.

    * School by school stats are available. On the PPS website front page, click on “schools” and then on “enrollment profiles.” For those wanting more detail, the entire 318-page enrollment data book can be found at http://www.mis.pps.k12.or.us/.docs/pg/10310 This document has all kinds of data on per-student budget, enrollment numbers broken down for each school, transfers, etc.

    * The per-student budget figure includes all sources including grants (incl. Title 1) and fundraising. The school budget rank chart is on pp. 37-38 of the 08-09 enrollment data book (downloadable from the page linked above). In general, higher poverty schools have extra funding for lower class sizes and additional supports, and thus higher per-student budget. Size of the school is a factor as well.

    * There aren’t “unused” Title 1 $ that go back to the central office. (Maybe you are thinking of the carryover from one grant year to the next?) A small portion (5%) of the grant is allocated for administrative costs to do all the reporting to the feds and keep in compliance.
    * The federal law on Title 1 obligates the district to give funding to private schools for any low-income students they may have. I believe the estimated amount for 09-10 to private schools is $626,000 out of the $20 million Title 1 budget. Again, we are required to do this by law.

    Sorry to go on at such length!

  29. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Ruth – Regarding your final two points about the use of Title I funds…district staff explained to me that the carryover balance is returned to the central Title I pot and redistributed to schools the next year. Again, this has been going on for years
    (http://portlandtribune.com/new.....y_id=17979).

    At the end of the 07/08 school year Scott elementary school had $72,091 remaining from a $278,860 allocation. That’s far more than 5% for administrative costs. Woodlawn had $41,781 remaining, Irvington $24,940 and Lane middle school $26,944. Those are just some of the schools with funds left over at the end of the school year. There were also schools that went over budget.

    The 5% allocated for administrative costs “to do all the reporting to the feds and keep in compliance” isn’t keeping the district in compliance. Your final point about the district being required to provide services to low-income students in private schools is correct but the district’s requirements do not end when PPS staff hand over a check. The US Department of Education’s audit of ODE in November of 2008 resulted in findings that:

    PPS has not maintained control of the Title I program for eligible private school children and their families and teachers,

    PPS has not met the requirements for consultation with private school officials regarding the method or sources of data PPS will use to determine Title I eligibility of private school children or how the Title I program at the private schools will be evaluated,

    PPS has not exercised proper oversight in awarding contracts for Title I services.

    At a time when the district is facing yet another budget crisis, it seems that it would be wise to watch every dollar.

  30. Comment from Nicole Leggett:

    Ruth, No apologies needed here. Thank you and everyone that has brought truth and transparency to this important conversation.
    Steve B. You are 100% right a short line item clarifier is necessary for understanding the budget enough to question it. The glossary is my favorite section.

  31. Comment from Susan:

    “School by school stats are available. On the PPS website front page, click on “schools” and then on “enrollment profiles.” For those wanting more detail, the entire 318-page enrollment data book can be found at http://www.mis.pps.k12.or.us/.docs/pg/10310

    Ruth, thanks for the link to the 2008-2009 stats – something not obviously available from the PPS website. The school-by- school enrollment profiles, although now updated “12/03/08″ still do not include 2008-2009 data. It’s the same information as the last eight months on a new-looking website.

  32. Comment from Ruth Adkins:

    Susan, it looks like there is a glitch. The enrollment profiles link on the main “schools” page that I mentioned, does connect to the latest (updated 2/09) data. http://www.pps.k12.or.us/schoo.....nrollment/ But, if you first go to an individual school’s page and then click thru to statistics and then enrollment profile, it still goes to the old enrollment data. Thanks very much for catching this, I will let the website people know.

    Carrie, thanks for the info and history on the carryover issue. Based on the numbers I’ve seen, which is just for the district as a whole not individual schools, overall the district carryover is well below average (per the Trib article:
    “Ric LaTour, an administrator with the Oregon Department of Education, said the federal government requires that school districts spend at least 85 percent of their Title I money. He estimated that the average carry-over among Oregon school districts is about 10 percent.
    ). Last year the district-wide carryover was 3% (700K out of 19 million) and for 09-10 it is estimated at 6% (1.225 million out of 18.9 million). That said, if there are individual schools that are way underspending then that is a problem, so thanks for the heads up.

    If you have a link to the 2008 audit that would be great, as I have not seen it. Thanks!

    One piece of good news in the budget is the federal stimulus $ for both Title 1 and IDEA (special ed). For Title 1 this is $14.56 million in addition to the main grant. It is one-time money that is required to “supplement not supplant” (ie must be new/additional expenditures, and can’t be used to fill the hole in the general fund budget) and has to be entirely spent this coming year (no carryover allowed). The directive is to avoid “cliffs” (eg hiring additional classroom teachers only to have to lay them off when the funding goes away). The admin cost on this is listed as $167K (1%). Reports must be made quarterly (in addition to reporting for the regular grant) and getting the full amount is dependent on meeting compliance for the first 50%.

    Per my notes from the staff presentation on this, the stimulus Title 1 money will be used for (among other things) preK, hiring bilingual staff to work with parents on transition to schools, 3 summer programs (K, 5/6 transition, 8/9 transition), credit recovery, and site-based PD at AYP schools.

  33. Comment from Stephanie:

    Ruth do you have any information on how the IDEA money will be spent? I have been procrastinating on my feedback for the discipline policy but one of the things I will be recommending is that the stimulus money go into training for positive behavior supports and adopting Oregon Intervention Systems as the district-wide crisis response method. I don’t know if you are aware of the GAO report that just came out on the death and injuries related to seclusion and restraint used in schools. Here is a link http://edlabor.house.gov/newsr.....of-a.shtml. Arne Duncan has said that he will be requiring schools have updated methods and policies on seclusion and restraint including reporting when they occur. Oregon is ahead of the game in regards to reporting because the OAR’s require it but PPS is behind the times in having a consistent crisis response system. I have spent a lot of time in the last ten years in schools and without naming names I can tell you that humiliation, restraint, neglect, forced seclusion, and abusive techniques do happen in this district. One school in particular that is labeled a “behavior school” does not even have a qualified behavior consultant on staff and the brand new teachers are expected to know how to write a behavior plan. I will detail in my policy response how PPS can get in touch with certified OIS trainers. Parkrose and N. Clackamas use OIS and some other districts are starting to adopt it. My opinion is that this would be a great use of the IDEA and timely with the new policy. I have heard other districts in the state are trying to find a way to absorb the IDEA money into the general fund and searching for loopholes.

  34. Comment from Dale Sherbourne:

    How much will the alternative public schools have to cut back,such as charter schools will they avoid budget cuts

  35. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Ruth, You’re right, the issue is that principals are not using the resources that they’ve been provided. There’s no excuse for not providing services when the funding is there.

    I found the Title I audit on the Office of the Inspector General website. There isn’t a direct link but it’s called Oregon Monitoring Report 2008-09.

    Thanks for responding to the issues being raised on this site.

  36. Comment from Zarwen:

    Dale, they will suffer as much as anyone budget-wise. They get only 80% of the per-student funding that regular schools get, and since the whole pie is shrinking, that 80% will have to shrink too.

    We really are all in this together.

  37. Comment from Ruth Adkins:

    Thanks Carrie, I will google for the report.

    Stephanie, I don’t know about the specific programs or approaches planned in special ed, but from the review at the FAO meeting it looks like the extra IDEA funding will be used to accommodate increased growth of higher-needs students (thus avoiding potential cuts in other areas of SpEd), paraeducators, better facilities for SpEd students, professional development and school support.

    Staff have been working hard to get clarity from the feds on the rules for how the money may be spent.

    According to staff, IDEA is an area where there is a good hope that Congress might actually renew/continue the additional support beyond the stimulus pkg. (Since the original federal commitment was to cover 40% of sped costs, and the stimulus $ only gets them up in the mid-20% range of covering their mandate, this would be a good and appropriate move, to say the least.)

  38. Comment from marcia:

    Not to be disrespectful, Ruth, but weren’t you asked to meet with the teacher’s union just to hear their side of these bizarre negotiations, and you refused? Also, the new budget, with five furlough days, was put out by the district, without even mentioning to the union, when negotiations are supposed to be underway for a new contract. Just wondering about all this ..
    from a teacher’s viewpoint.

  39. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Go Marcia! The superintendent says that she values teachers, but then proposes changes to our contract IN THE OREGONIAN where this is the first teachers hear of it. Ridiculous! I wish the public knew what we know, not just the “sound bites” Carole wants to let them in on. Working in a K-8, where nothing new in the way of improvements has been put forth for over a year is pathetic. We have been working with the same set of handicaps Ms. Philips left us with, and now the district seems to have moved on to high school reform and left us in the dust. Words cannot accurately express the outrage I feel as a parent and as a PPS teacher.

  40. Comment from Nicole Leggett:

    It sounds like another K-8 Needs Assessment must be done. My school, Peninsula, got mostly what it needed. Our K-8 is working, but I can’t stand for any other school to be swept under the “high school reform” rug! All good activist must be on the lookout for diversionary tactics. There must be a check back to the K-8 Implementation Progress. Why don’t we all tell them; it’s time to see how far we’ve come and how far we have to go?