March 16th, 2009 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Schools

Portland Public Schools Superintendent Proposes Pay Freezes and Other Cuts

Carole Smith
Portland Public Schools' Superintendent Carole Smith will go before the PPS board of education tonight to propose a number of cuts that she says will preserve school days this year.

The district is currently facing an immediate shortfall of $14 million. Among her proposals:

• An increase in the district's staffing model. The increase will have the effect of widening the student-to-teacher ratio, increasing class sizes and eliminating the equivalent of 27 full-time teachers.

• Cutting 12 positions in the district's central administrative office. (As of Monday afternoon, those proposed cuts had not been shared with the staff members affected by the decision. Therefore, the superintendent would not say whose jobs were being cut.)

• Asking the teachers' union and other groups (not including food-service workers, who recently bargained cost-of-living increases) to accept no cost-of-living increases for the 2009-2010 school year. The district and the teachers' union are currently in negotiations. The savings, if the unions agree to them, will be $9 million, the district says.

Smith's budget proposal assumes a number of optimistic factors, namely that Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the Legislature will come through with a K-12 budget for the next biennium that does not drop below current funding levels.

Tonight's school-board meeting begins at 7 p.m.
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