In two weeks, the Portland School Board
is supposed to vote on the initial plans for Superintendent Carole Smith's high-school redesign.
Last night's work session on the topic didn't exactly live up to its name--but not for lack of trying on the part of a few board members.
Dilafruz Williams kicked off the session by expressing worry about the possible transition Marshall High School
students face. In announcing her proposal on Monday to close Marshall,
Smith indicated current students wouldn't be allowed to graduate at Marshall after this school year.
David Wynde had strong words of caution about the plan, saying he couldn't vote to close Marshall until learning more about how current Marshall students would be better served in their new schools. At-risk students at Marshall do better academically than at-risk students at Franklin and Cleveland high schools by some measures, Wynde noted.
Then he dropped something of a stink bomb. Wynde said previous high-school reforms had fallen short in their implementation and that, as a school board member, he'd taken it "on faith" administrators would do what they said they would do. "I'm not willing to do that this time around," he said.
Photo of previous work session from January 2010.