In the news: PPS sells “surplus” copy paper, toilet paper

7:56 am

Beth Slovic report in today’s Willamette Week that Portland Public Schools last week sold “surplus” copy paper and toilet paper, among other items, for less than market value. Portland teachers spend an average of $600 a year out of their own pockets for classroom supplies, according to their union. They are currently fighting for a contract that doesn’t roll back their pay to pre-2007 levels, even as they deal with an increased workload.

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

filed under: Budget, Labor Relations, Media

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23 Responses

  1. Comment from Lakeitha:

    Someone just posted on their facebook page that their kid did not have homework this week because the school was out of copy paper. Maybe it’s because the district sold it all.
    More to come.

  2. Comment from marcia:

    RIDICULOUS! I have no printer in my room…would love the have that laser printer…Go to school house supplies for paper for our school….The last time I put new dolls in my playhouse, I purchased them with my own money. And I can’t believe that the guy who is paid to spend his days on Facebook up there at the Pink Palace can’t figure out how to email teachers to let them know what is available….Afterall..they managed to get that email out pretty quickly when they wanted us to take down the WORKING WITHOUT A CONTRACT signs last Friday.

  3. Comment from Steve Buel:

    PPS reminds you of the old management of the Trailblazer Jailblazers. Just can’t seem to get it right. Here’s a tip: Focus on putting the education of kids first — a goal everyone in the district can get behind.

    Maybe the administration was afraid to tell teachers they had some extra suppplies teachers could use — cause a riot at the orange building.

  4. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    What’s even more ironic in all this, is that teachers were the ones buying the stuff–while some might have purchased for personal use—you can just bet a bunch were buying for their classroom. So: rather than go pay retail out of our pockets for basic essentials, we can just PAY OUR EMPLOYER for the basic supplies and materials we NEED TO DO OUR JOBS!!!


    Is this just too ironic or what??? Why weren’t those supplies flat out donated to Schoolhouse Supplies? I personally have donated a variety of things for teacher use, rather than sell them at a garage sale. But, you have to be able to THINK LIKE A TEACHER to figure this stuff out….Duh.

  5. Comment from Robert Jones:

    It seems that if people don’t have the paper or the computers/technology available in their rooms, they need to talk to their building principal or secretary to obtain those items. These folks should be able to order those items and have them available to use. Saying that a school has run out of paper is ridiculous. The school should have ordered more or gone down to Office Depot to purchase a few cases.

  6. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    “These folks should be able to order those items and have them available to use.”

    Yep, that should be the way things work… Just like every teacher should have a computer manufactured within the last five years, and libraries should have computers built to the same spec available for student use.

    The district should also pull themselves out of the teacher contract bargaining corner they’ve backed themselves into, and they should admit that the K-8 experiment has been disastrous, especially for poor and minority students. The district should define what constitutes a good education, and they should make it available to all students, even if they don’t live in a white, middle class neighborhood.

    Lots of “shoulds” here; the reality in the classroom is much different.

  7. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Robert Jones,

    I would love to know where you work in the PPS, so that you can tell me YOU just go and “talk” to your building secretary or principal and they actually GET THE REQUESTED SUPPLIES FOR YOU??? Wherever that is, I want a transfer to that building, NOW!!!!

    Last time I asked my school sec’y/principal for clock batteries, band aids and printer ink, I had to go out and buy that stuff myself. Oh, yeah, and Kleenex? I’ve been buying that in bulk packages at Costco for years.

    You must work in a magic building where every wish is granted, oh, please, can I join you???


  8. Comment from ppsvet:

    We run out of paper all the time in my building. Sometimes it feels like the only time we don’t is when the copier is down.

    We run out of toilet paper too. We laughed when they announced that we should wash our hands often. By lunch time we have no paper towels most of the time.

  9. Comment from marcia:

    pretty darn sure that our contract requires schools to supply copy paper…but these days, what is a contract worth…???

  10. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Yup, Marcia,

    Our contract does: Article 12, section A 4: “The District shall supply and maintain material in current adoptions. All unit members shall have access to a copy machine and an adequate amount of paper to meet the required needs of instruction.”

    ROFLOL to BOTH OF THOSE!!!! What a joke!

  11. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Merry S.,
    You could have moved to Vancouver to teach, but we have cut back this year so you may not want to anymore — only three cartridges for each teacher’s on the desk printer.

  12. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Steve, you get ONLY THREE cartridges of ink for the WHOLE skool year? Ohmigosh, what has public education come to? Where is the outrage! Pass a bond measure to rectify this shortage!!!

    I’d be happy with a district supplied box of Kleenex for all the dripping noses in my classroom. We used to get $50 a year to order basic supplies (that’s EVERYTHING BASIC), but that was taken away last year, so teachers got ZERO. Sure would have liked to have some of that BLACKBERRY or SURPLUS SALE money devoted to classroom supplies!!!!!

  13. Comment from marcia:

    You could have used that toilet paper that didn’t “fit” into the holders to blow noses, also.

  14. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Marcia–what a great idea! Now who would have thought of using T.P. as Kleenex? Teachers maybe? Amazing! *insert snickering snort here*

    Nobody can find a use for everyday and mundane items like teachers….inventors and innovators at heart. Too bad some of the folks arranging sales don’t remember that…… begins to wonder how many staff at BESC have ever been in a school since they graduated….???

  15. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Marcia, I was just going to “ditto” your remark. I have had so many students ask “Where’s the kleenex?” this past week. Not my job to go out and buy it, nor should it have to be.

  16. Comment from Lakeitha:

    Marcia, What contract?

  17. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Lakeitha, Here’s the link to the Portland Association of Teacher’s current (expired) contract:

    Like many others who just received their property tax bills, I’m trying to figure out why my bill continues to increase while services decrease. How much are these school closures and redesigns actually costing taxpayers when you take into consideration PPS’ ill planned efforts and outcomes in implementing them?

    District administrators love to talk about transparency but where is it? It would be a much better use of taxpayer dollars to provide quarterly income and expense reports for every PPS school and department than it is to continue to drag out these redesigns just for the sake of dragging them out. PPS…give the public some genuine input on improving the system.

    And somebody please take Matt Shelby’s Blackberry because it appears to be malfunctioning. He throws out one liners defending district practices then disappears when questioned.

  18. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Carrie, as you know, it is a long held tradition by PPS administrators and board members to either disappear when questioned, refuse to debate any longer when cornered, or just not answer queries (i.e. not commenting on public concerns raised at school board meetings or making it difficult to get information). I am still waiting for my answer to the last question I asked PPS. Evidentally they forgot about it.

  19. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Steve B, if district staff want to put themselves out there, that’s great but they should expect follow-up.

    I saw a lot of questionable practices when I worked at the BESC and many came out of facilities. They did things like hire movers (temporary help) at the last minute. Some of the movers were relatives of facilities staff and they often began work prior to clearing background checks. How do you not know until the last minute that you’re going to move out of a school?

    PPS provides information about their surplus property on their Facilities page. Maybe teachers could take a group field trip.

    This is from the PPS webpage:

    “Can I visit the surplus site?

    Yes. Please make arrangements with the Surplus Coordinator. Usually someone is at the site Wednesday mornings 8-10AM but not always. Please check before you drop by.”

    Aren’t Wednesday mornings late openings?

  20. Comment from marcia:

    YES! A field trip on the next late opening! Great idea.

  21. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Marcia, maybe you could use the technology equipment that the district provides teachers (water glasses and a string) to get the word out to other teachers. Take video cameras.

  22. Comment from marcia:

    HA! What is a video camera?

  23. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Marcia, I think a video camera is something from the last century to take moving pictures—because I still have a VCR in my classroom, so we still use the tape things that I have to buy myself. Of course the video player is over 12 years old, and the district doesn’t provide “head cleaner”, so every time it makes a noise, and jams up a tape, we try to use the cleaner cassette and I’ve bought about 5 of those things over the years. If that thing busts, there go my lesson plans (kidding! seriously kidding!)

    Bought my own DVD player for school a long time ago, which other teachers have tried to borrow, I won’t let them touch it, because once it disappears, that’s that.

    I think you can take moving pictures with a video camera, but nowadays there’s something called digital that a lot of schools have, not us. The cameras are itty bitty and have some chips in them, I think!

    Wow, the PPS is so “retro”!!!!! Kewl!!!!! Groovy!