In the news: Regan questions proposed transfer policy tweaks

8:24 am

School board member Bobbie Regan may be signaling opposition to proposed limits to neighborhood-to-neighborhood student transfers, according to a report by Beth Slovic on Willamette Week‘s news blog.

Regan’s apparent expression of unease with the proposal, which is part of a larger redesign of the high school system, comes on the heals of an Oregonian editorial Monday which expressed more direct opposition to the idea of limiting the flow of students and funding.

Each year, thousands of students and tens of millions of dollars in education funding transfer from Portland’s poorest neighborhoods and into its wealthiest. Schools in the Lincoln cluster home to Regan and the wealthiest familes in Portland Public Schools, had a net gain of nearly 600 students in 2008-09, representing over $3 million in funding.

In that same school year, schools in the Jefferson cluster, encompassing some of Portland’s poorest families, lost nearly 2,000 students and about $12 million to out transfers.

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

filed under: Data Crunch, Equity, High Schools, School Board, Transfer Policy

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9 Responses

  1. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Finally we are starting to get the kick back. Even if the transfer policy is changed in the high school redesign to limit comprehensive high school to comprehensive high school transfers won’t the focus option schools then take the place of the escape valve for those not wishing to attend their neighborhood high school? That is one reason I advocate putting focus option schools in the comprehesive high schools. Adds to the numbers.

  2. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t like losing those dollars either, but too bad. We need to spread that money around instead of hoarding it. Now. Is. Not. The Time to Hoard.

    I don’t hoard; I freely give, and I would appreciate if more people would share in that spirit. I grew up without a lot of money, but I had so many giving people in my life that it carried me through.

    I’ve been telling Grant, Lincoln and Cleveland parents for years, “We’d like some of our students back, please.” (Our neighborhood school is Jeff, and Roosevelt is not far from us.)

    Jefferson, Roosevelt, Marshall and Madison remain in death spiral. When I was at Madison, some students from North Portland chose to transfer in — not a huge number, but some. I recall a small number of students transferring out (one to Lincoln, some to Benson, some to private). We didn’t need to transfer to Grant or Adams for theater, for example. We all 3 had great theater programs, and Jeff had theater + dance.

    We are not talking about an impossible goal to achieve, to spread it all around.

  3. Comment from Zarwen:


    My 40+ years of observing human behavior have taught me that the poor, not the rich, are the ones most likely to share. Maybe it’s easier if you don’t have so much to lose? Reminds me of the Biblical parable about the widow’s mite.

  4. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    In an emailed high school redesign update, PPS says “The next step will be a request for proposals from community partners, current schools or programs and others who might be be interested in developing and operating a focus school.”

    Isn’t that jumping the gun? Is anyone a little concerned about who the partners may be?

    Where will the focus schools be located? Wouldn’t that make a difference to “partners” thinking about submitting a proposal?

    What’s the plan for oversight? What standards will they be held to?

    I can see it now. The district will provide loose or nonexistant oversight to the focus schools. Neighborhood high schools will continue to fail because PPS will move on to another reform initiative before finishing high school redesign. Then PPS will say that the focus are better managed and allow the takeover of larger schools.

    That may be a sky is falling scenario but look at what’s happening around the country.

  5. Comment from Zarwen:

    Carrie, everything you have just described is a violation of the PPS Board Policies governing focus option schools:

  6. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Zarwen, concern about the violation of policy (district, city, state or federal) hasn’t been a barrier for PPS in the past.

    I hope I’m wrong about the direction I see the district heading.

  7. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Nope. It’s starting already.

  8. Comment from Zarwen:

    Get a load of WW’s latest take on this here:

  9. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    It looks like the district’s consultant was right.

    “There were also some High School meetings during the day. The superintendent has developed a leadership team to address this issue. I had the opportunity to meet with the two leaders of this group. I was underwhelmed. Based on what I saw, “they would have a hard time making their way out of a wet paper bag.” In other words the work plan they laid out, may not be a bad step, but has zero probability of resulting in significant change, resulting in developing a system-wide agreement in what should be done at the high school level or being able to determine what should be done with high school facilities [at least not in the short-term]. It is clear from the board’s perspective that they want the high schools addressed, they want direction and they want it now. I thought the superintendent sort of fumbled her way through the discussion.”