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March 15th, 2006 Ian Demsky | News Stories
 

School Daze

WW gets a look at the Portland school district's proposed closures.

     
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Portland Public Schools Superintendent Vicki Phillips will probably recommend closing 11 Portland elementary schools over the next two years, according to an internal district staff presentation obtained by WW.

The presentation, which district officials call a "rough draft," is part of Phillips' long-term solution to PPS' looming $57 million budget shortfall.

Out of the district's 52 elementary schools, the proposal, dated March 14, seeks to shutter Rieke, Stephenson, Sitton, Astor, Humboldt, Hollyrood, Rose City Park, Llewellyn, Creston, Bridger and Woodmere. Two of those 11 elementaries are on the city's west side, the other nine on the east of the river.

Two middle schools, not identified in the presentation, might also have to be closed to meet the district's plan looking ahead to 2010.

Schools officials called the presentation a "rough draft" that was still evolving.

"Schools have been put on and schools have come off," says PPS spokeswoman Sarah Carlin Ames.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the principals at the targeted schools had not yet been informed.

District officials had earlier estimated closing 14 schools could save $5 million per year. A dollar figure was unavailable for this proposal, Carlin Ames told WW.

The presentation describes the district's overall plan to emphasize the merger of elementary and middle schools into K-8 schools in an effort to better use available space and provide a more consistent education program across the district.

The purpose of emphasizing the K-8 model is less about saving money than "about providing the best possible education for kids," Carlin Ames says. The system would ease the transition from elementary to middle school and help to preserve programs like music and gym during tough budget times.

Phillips is slated to unveil her final list on April 4, a day after presenting the school board with her budget, Ames says. The board is expected to vote on it in late April.

Read the entire 13-page plan ,"Optimizing Portland Public Schools for 2010," at www.wweek.com/media/7344.pdf.


Read the entire 13-page plan ,"Optimizing Portland Public Schools for 2010," at www.wweek.com/media/7344.pdf.
 
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