Moments before Superintendent Carole Smith announced her resignation, Portland Public Schools released its highly anticipated investigation of its efforts to test for lead in schools' drinking water.

The 38-page report—issued at the direction of the school board—provides key insights into PPS's handling of contaminated drinking water and communication to the public about its efforts.

Among the findings:

  • PPS has had no program in place for testing water for lead for the past 15 years.
  • Information about lead posted to PPS’s website is “misleading and inaccurate.”
  • Carole Smith brought a lawyer to her interviews with investigators. Smith’s chief of staff, Amanda Whalen, brought a lawyer to her second interview.
  • The district’s records of lead fixes cannot be relied upon.
  • Upper-level administrators displayed “an absence of diligent inquiry” regarding PPS’s procedures and protocols for testing and fixing lead in the water before and after March 2016.
  • Except for a notice on the website, the district failed to notify parents, students and staff after 2012 of the fact that sinks were not safe to drink from.
  • Former communications chief Jon Isaacs “knowingly provided incomplete excerpts of the water testing database” to WW last year. Isaacs also declined to be interviewed as part of the investigation. “Mr. Isaacs responded to our first request for an interview by voicemail, indicating that his schedule would not allow for an interview at the times initially requested,” the report says. “Mr. Isaacs did not respond to our offer of additional interview times and further efforts to schedule an interview. “
  • “Responsibility for overseeing testing of lead in drinking water has been placed with a single individual. No training was provided to the responsible individual.”

We'll update this post as we continue to examine the investigative findings.