High School Redesign: More Questions than Answers


News
Thinking about what aspect of Portland Public Schools' latest high-school recommendations to examine feels a bit like standing at a car collision with several bleeding people in front of me. Superintendent Carole Smith's new modifications [PDF] pose many new unanswered questions. Why should Benson High limit its enrollment to 400 students, as Smith proposed this week? Won't those kids continue ...   More
 
Friday, June 4, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

PPS Begs for Mercy on a $110 Fine


News
The state Government Ethics Commission tomorrow will consider granting leniency to Portland Public Schools, which failed to submit its quarterly expenditure report on time for any lobbying efforts between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2009, when the district didn't technically employ a lobbyist. The fine? $110. The letter from PPS's Robb Cowie [PDF] begging for mercy? Priceless: The staff recommendation ...   More
 
Thursday, June 3, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

High-School Redesign: Superintendent Proposes Changes for 2010


News
One month after introducing her first proposal for reforming Portland Public Schools' high schools, Superintendent Carole Smith offered a new, slightly different plan. The biggest change to Smith's high-school redesign, presented at a work session with the School Board on Wednesday night, concerns Benson Polytechnic High. Under Smith's previous proposal, Benson was to become a two-year technical ...   More
 
Wednesday, June 2, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland Public Schools on State Budget Woes: Substantial Staffing Reductions Are Likely


News
This week's news that there's another big hole topping a half-billion dollars in Oregon's state budget has landed hard on Portland Public Schools. This afternoon, school board member David Wynde — chair of the board's finance, audit and operations committee — estimated in a letter to PPS families that the impact to the school district will be $19 million, the equivalent of 200-plus teaching ...   More
 
Thursday, May 27, 2010 HANK STERN

Jefferson Business Manager to PPS Auditor: "Job Was to Keep the Principal out of the Newspaper" (Updated)


News
CLARIFICATION: The business manager at Jefferson who is referenced in this report lost her job as a result of a layoff amid budget cuts. A WW review of new documents surrounding the financial audit at Jefferson High School reveals internal finger-pointing, months of unsound business practices and at least one complaint by a contractor at the North Portland campus before Portland Public Schools ...   More
 
Friday, May 21, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Updated: Audit of Jefferson High School's Student Funds Shows "Lack of Internal Controls"


News
The departure of Jefferson High School's principal and business manager came on the same day that Portland Public Schools completed a financial audit of Jefferson's student-body funds. [PDF] PPS put Cynthia Harris, Jefferson's principal since June 2007, and Reis Wilbanks, the school's part-time business manager, on paid leave on Thursday. Also on Thursday, PPS's accounting office completed ...   More
 
Friday, May 21, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland Superintendent Proposes Eliminating Physical Education, Art or Music in Primary Grades


News
Portland Public Schools' Superintendent Carole Smith has proposed the wholesale elimination of either physical education programs or a combination of other electives like art, music and foreign language to balance next year's budget for the district's elementary, K-8 and middle schools. And the cuts to the district's $445 million general fund don't end there. As PPS struggles to fill a sudden ...   More
 
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland School Board and Superintendent Suspend the High-School Redesign


News
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 ...   More
 
Monday, June 21, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Special Education Administrator Files Suit Against Portland Public Schools


News
Stacey Sibley, a popular former administrator at Pioneer School, a Portland Public Schools' program for children with severe behavioral conditions, filed suit [PDF] against the school district on Friday. She claims in her suit that she was the victim of defamation and retaliation after she complained about threats to student and staff safety at Pioneer. According to the lawsuit, the problem started ...   More
 
Monday, June 21, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Key Architect of High-School Redesign to Leave Portland Public Schools


News
Xavier Botana, Portland Public Schools' chief academic officer and one of the architects of the pending high-school redesign, is leaving the school district after just one year. In an email to PPS staff today, Superintendent Carole Smith said Botana's departure was due to an illness in his family. Carla Randall, principal of Madison High School, will replace Botana on Aug. 10, his last day with ...   More
 
Wednesday, June 16, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

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