A tale of two cities, continued: last year’s PSF contributors

7:40 am

When school communities raise money to hire certified teachers for their own children, they are required to contribute a portion to a district-wide “equity fund.” The first $10,000 they raise is exempt, but for every dollar above that amount, they must contribute 30 cents. (Money raised and spent for other purposes, like field trips, books, athletics, speakers, after-school enrichment, capital improvements, and non-certified staff is fully exempt.)

Under new rules of the Portland Schools Foundation (PSF), the equity fund is then distributed to schools that lack direct fund-raising capacity, and, as of the current school year, these schools are able use the money to hire certified teachers.

PPS Equity has acquired a list of last year’s contributors to the equity fund, which is to say schools with communities wealthy enough to raise money to pay for extra teaching staff. Here is the list, ordered by level of contribution, highest first:

  1. Lincoln High School
  2. West Sylvan Middle School
  3. Ainsworth Elementary School
  4. Bridlemile Elementary School
  5. Chapman Elementary School
  6. Alameda Elementary School
  7. Laurelhurst K-7 School
  8. StephensonElementary School
  9. Rieke Elementary School
  10. Beverly Cleary K-8 School
  11. Skyline K-8 School
  12. Richmond Elementary School
  13. Glencoe Elementary School
  14. Buckman Elementary School
  15. Cleveland High School
  16. Abernethy Elementary School
  17. Mt. Tabor Middle School
  18. Atkinson Elementary School
  19. Grant High School
  20. Sellwood Middle School
  21. Roseway Heights K-8 School
  22. Llewellyn Elementary School
  23. Maplewood Elementary School
  24. Hosford Middle School
  25. Gray Middle School
  26. Wilson High School
  27. Beaumont Middle School
  28. Duniway Elementary School
  29. Capitol Hill Elementary School
  30. Forest Park Elementary School

Not surprisingly, most of these schools are within the Cleveland, Franklin, Grant, Lincoln and Wilson clusters.

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

filed under: Equity, Fundraising, PSF

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8 Responses

  1. Comment from ohme:

    In many ways, these seem like public funded private schools. Wow…such a difference from outer east and north sides of the city.

  2. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    My oldest son graduated from Benson in 2003 and my middle child from Franklin in 2007.

    I transferred my youngest child out of Benson this year (her senior year) and into Grant because Benson’s administration failed to address serious concerns about their staff.

    Last night I attended Grant’s back-to-school night and I was stunned at the differences in the quality of education my kids received.

    As someone who has spent years collecting data and criticizing PPS for the substandard quality of education offered to poor kids, I was still surprised at the depth of the disparities.

    It’s not about the condition of the buildings, class sizes, or textbook availability. It’s the culture.

    I encourage PPS Equity readers to attend several different high school open houses. Experience those differences yourself.

    Another thought…all PPS school board members and central office management staff should be required to send their children to PPS’ lowest performing schools. I wonder how long it would take to improve those schools then.

  3. Comment from mneloa:

    I do believe that Grant is the most “diverse” highschool in the city if you check the statistics or walk the halls.
    Isn’t this what we want for all students?

  4. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    I want to clarify what I mean when referring to “culture”. I’m talking about the knowledge, beliefs, values and attitudes exhibited by the adults in the school environment.

    I’ve been an involved PPS parent for the past 19 years and the only time that I’ve heard teachers talk about kids going on to college was at Grant’s open house. Every one of my daughter’s teachers let parents know what they’re doing to prepare our kids for college.

    Parents and students felt welcomed when entering the school. Grant administrators were in the hallway assisting parents and ensuring that hallway traffic flowed smoothly. Teachers let parents know how and the best times to contact them. They gave parents resource information for helping with homework and checking their student’s progress. The school environment fosters and expects success.

    Contrast that with my neighborhood middle school where a principal told parents at a public parent meeting that test scores at the school were low but that’s what he expected because it was a low income school.

    School programs are built around those expectations.

  5. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Thank you, Carrie, for spelling it out. We can never address the disparities in high school (like we are attempting to do) without addressing the disparities producing such rotten education in the 7th and 8th grade which front loads our huge dropout rates in high school. Doesn’t Supt. Smith understand there are schools near Portland who are providing a very good education to poor kids in the middle grades, and Portland, with a little thought and effort, could begin to pull these lower economic middle grade schools out of the quicksand?

  6. Comment from Sheila Warren:

    “Hold up wait a minute”. Carrie since you have done a lot of research over the years. I know you have to know the history of Grant.

    I am not surprised you have that
    surreal attitude about Grant. Yes back to shool night can give you a great since of security. Grant does have wonderful parent engagement. The Grant community is a close knit group of Parents. Who are very much engaged in volunteering and showing up for events. To folks who come from failing schools it does feel a lot better.

    I paint a different picture. Just because
    Grant is a school not in trouble
    like Benson is not an indicator
    for being a school that practices equity. There is difinitely a class system going on. Since I have been on the Site Council I have been pushing
    to look at Data around discipline and the Achievement Gap. Guess What?

    I and other Families of Color have to fight for the same equity for our children as the
    White Privilege families get automatically, even if their kids are not doing well. Whether kids of color are
    in a failing school or a performing school the results are still the
    same. At least in a failing school the student can get more help. At Grant if you have those needs they are not available. Lots of kids of Color transfer from failing schools to Grant. As I said equity results are still the same.

  7. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Sheila, you missed my point. I didn’t say anything about Grant practicing equity. Just the opposite. “As someone who has spent years collecting data and criticizing PPS for the substandard quality of education offered to poor kids, I was still surprised at the depth of the disparities.”

    You’re absolutely right about students of color and poor children having to fight for equity. Not only are there disparities around achievement, discipline, TAG, and SPED but the same children are left in toxic buildings. They also get the least experienced teachers and their schools have the highest teacher turnover rates.

    Regarding the issue of students needing help and resource allocation…a student should be able to get help in a low performing school but that’s not always the case because some schools choose not to use their resources. See “Poorest Schools Return $500,000.”


    My kid’s entire PPS experience has been in high poverty schools. My point was that it is a tale of two cities.

  8. Comment from h.j.:

    Do we have exact figures as to how much each school raised?