In the news: new PSF rules help keep teachers in classroom

4:15 pm

Adrianne Jeffries reports in yesterday’s Tribune on the ways principals are using Portland Schools Foundation (PSF) Equity Fund money to restore cuts to classroom teachers and librarians, and even adding staff in the case of Benson High. This is possible for the first time since that fund’s inception under new rules brought by PSF CEO Dan Ryan.

Former PSF CEO Cynthia Guyer defends the old rules, and yours truly gives props to Ryan for moving things in the right direction.

Share or print:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Print

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

filed under: Equity, Grants, Media, PSF

follow responses with RSS

5 Responses

  1. Comment from ppsvet:

    What rules did Ryan change? There was probably a reason. Maybe it was equity. Please make your posts more complete. Please, what was the change and what was the rationale for the change?

    As a teacher I’m nervous about these things. The original idea was that parents couldn’t specificly BUY FTE, but only support programs. This seems to have changed.

    Are you for it?

  2. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    The story I linked to in the Trib covers the changes; a post I wrote in May explains my position on the changes a little more fully and also links to a Willamette Week article that gives some more detailed history of the Equity Fund.

    In a nutshell, schools with direct fund-raising capacity (i.e. schools in wealthy neighborhoods) have always been able to directly fund FTE in their schools. That was what PSF was set up to do. Poor schools were required to apply for competitive grants, but could not use the money to fund FTE.

    Ryan’s changes eliminate the requirement to write the grants, and now allow poor schools to use the money to hire teachers. As I said in the Trib article, this is a big step in the right direction. As I said in my May blog post on the topic, I’d like to also see the $10K exemption lifted, and the Equity Fund contribution of wealthy schools raised to 50%.

  3. Comment from marcia:

    I think shortening the application to one page was a fine idea. Before, taking on the application process was like having a second job. I think that limiting the application to only a few schools is inequitable.

  4. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Yes, it seems we’ve had this conversation earlier. Who made the decision to only fund the 19 schools?

  5. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    I have a large PDF in my possession (I’m going to try to reduce its size so I can post it soon) showing how PSF ranked PPS schools by demographics (free and reduced lunch, race and ELL) and “School Financial Support” (Title 1, Local School Foundation, PTA).

    These two factors were combined to create a “final rank,” and the top 16 schools automatically qualified for equity grants.

    This ranking looks pretty fair at first glance. I’m not sure how the line was drawn at 16, but keep in mind that the equity fund really isn’t all that big. The more schools that benefit, the less likely there will be noticeable impact in the classroom.

    The potential controversy I can see is the addition of three schools not in this initial ranking: Leadership and Entrepreneurship Public Charter High School and two alternative schools, Portland International Community School and Alliance High School.

    Charter schools are exempt from contributing to the Equity Fund, which means their communities can directly fund classroom teachers without contributing to the Equity Fund. That seems fundamentally unfair to both the neighborhood schools that fall just below the line for an Equity Grant and to the schools that contribute to the Equity Fund.