The Portland School Board tonight gave the go-ahead to Superintendent Carole Smith
to cut $13 million, not $19 million, from the 2010-11 school year's budget, trusting that federal lawmakers will make up the difference.
But a few School Board members, notably Martín González, pushed back on the superintendent for not offering many details on her proposed cuts
to the district's central office -- cuts that make up about $3 million of the $13 million in reductions currently on the table. González specifically called out the district's communications department as a source of possible cuts. "It's more important for us to be supporting schools," González said.
Trudy Sargent (re-elected tonight as chairwoman, along with first-timer Pam Knowles) asked for a meeting of the board's subcomittee on finances to talk about the proposed central-office cuts. She said she wanted to bring transparency to the as-of-now murky process.
Smith offered few details about the central-office cuts tonight, but she did say she would not fill one vacant position for a deputy superintendent. (There are currently four deputy superintendents.) She also said the administrative cuts would come largely from the district's human resources, technology and communications departments. During public testimony, a librarian revealed the district also apparently plans to scale back its central-office support for school libraries -- from five employees to one.