Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith
announced tonight that district administrators, with the support of the School Board, would suspend all decisions about the high-school redesign until at least September.
That means there will be no votes on any aspect of the redesign, which has been in the works for 30 months, until the start of the next school year. The School Board had been expected to vote on some elements of the high-school redesign next week.
Reading for 20 minutes from a prepared statement, Smith made the announcement in front of a packed audience of supporters from Jefferson, Marshall and Benson high schools, whose programs stood to change the most under the pending redesign. Smith had proposed ending freshman enrollment this fall at Marshall and Benson and limiting enrollment at the two schools beginning in fall 2011. A majority of the School Board, in turn, proposed converting Jefferson's neighborhood program into a focus-option school, a proposal that generated a powerful backlash this month from Jeff's supporters.
According to Smith's statement tonight, incoming freshmen who were being turned away from Marshall and Benson now will be able to enroll there next year.
The result is they're no longer alone in limbo-land.
As of tonight, the rest of Portland Public Schools' 11,000 high-school students have joined them there as they must wait three more months to learn their schools' ultimate fate.
Mayor Sam Adams,
who recently suspended his Memorial Colisem redesign process,
applauded the superintendent's decision tonight.