Loss of Principals

The Portland School District is seeing large turnover—and increasing drama—among the heads of its schools.

On paper, Sara Gandarilla seemed the perfect fit for Rigler Elementary School. Gandarilla—who took over as Rigler principal last fall—came armed with four years of bilingual teaching exper   More
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 BETH SLOVIC

Another Portland Public Schools Principal Out on Leave

Rigler Elementary is the latest affected by PPS's tumult


Portland Public Schools officials announced Friday morning that Sara Gandarilla, Rigler Elementary School's first-year principal, is going out on medical leave and won't be returning to the school this year or next.The announcement—following weeks of complaints from teachers about Gandarilla—is just the latest from PPS concerning the abrupt departure of a principal. On March 19, several ...   More
Friday, April 24, 2015 BETH SLOVIC

Portland School Board Splits 3-3 on Salary Audit


A resolution to audit administrative salaries in Portland Public Schools failed Tuesday night on a 3-3 vote, but supporters are vowing to bring it back after the May 19 election when a new school board would likely approve it.Board members Tom Koehler, Steve Buel and Bobbie Regan supported the measure. Pam Knowles, Ruth Adkins and Greg Belisle opposed it. Adkins and Belisle aren't running again. ...   More
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 BETH SLOVIC

Remember Portland's $5 Million Gift to Portland Public Schools?

Former Mayor Sam Adams' 2012 rescue will now cost PPS $4.5 million.


Former Mayor Sam Adams made a major splash in 2012 when he announced he would prop up local school district budgets with $7 million in city funds, including $5 million specifically earmarked for Portland Public Schools.At PPS, Superintendent Carole Smith, school board members and the Portland Association of Teachers union applauded the rescue, crediting it with saving 110 teaching positions and ...   More
Monday, April 20, 2015 BETH SLOVIC

Running Laps for Not Getting to Her 'Carpet Square' on Time?

That's the punishment one Portland mother says Chief Joseph Elementary School gave her daughter.


César Chávez K-8 School isn't the only one in Portland Public Schools to discipline students in ways that run counter to the district's own policies, according to an email newly released to WW.New records released by PPS show a parent of one student at Chief Joseph Elementary School says her child was made to run laps as punishment—even though the district's rule prohibit it.Last month, ...   More
Friday, April 17, 2015 by Beth Slovic

2015 Portland School Board Election: Julie Esparza Brown Enters


A new candidate has entered the field for the May Portland School Board elections.Julie Esparza Brown, an associate professor of special education at Portland State University, announced over the weekend that she's running for Ruth Adkins' seat representing Southwest Portland. Adkins, who's served two terms, hasn't said publicly whether she'll run again, although Brown's entrance seems to suggest Adkins ...   More
Monday, January 19, 2015 BETH SLOVIC

Portland Public Schools Board Members Push for Audit of Central Office Salaries


Three members of the Portland Public Schools board of education want the school district to immediately audit central-office salaries, following a report in WW on April 1 that Superintendent Carole Smith was handing out hefty pay raises to her closest staff.The three board members—Tom Koehler, Bobbie Regan and Steve Buel—will introduce their resolution at Tuesday night's board meeting. The question ...   More
Monday, April 13, 2015 BETH SLOVIC

Buckman Elementary Principal Leaves Temporarily, Cites "Health"

Portland Public Schools

Principal churn in Portland Public Schools continues. Last Monday, parents at Buckman Elementary School in Southeast Portland learned the principal who started in fall 2014, Robin Morrison, is taking a temporary leave. In an email to parents the principal cited health reasons.Morrison moved to Buckman from Woodlawn K-8 School under the terms of a federal grant at Woodlawn that required Morrison's ...   More
Friday, April 10, 2015 BETH SLOVIC

Bad Boy

Steve Buel is cranky, irritating, stubborn—and a surprising force for change in Portland Public Schools.

Cover Story
Greg Belisle demanded an answer. Steve Buel refused to give him one. It was Jan. 27, 2014, and Belisle was holding the gavel as co-chairman of the Portland Public Schools board. He and the oth   More
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 BETH SLOVIC

Wilson High Principal Reinstates Teachers in 'Initiation Activity' Case

The school's principal earlier said the incidents involved hazing.


Wilson High School principal Brian Chatard announced Tuesday the conclusion of his investigation into a classroom 'initiation' that put three teachers on paid administrative leave in February.All of the teachers are now back at school, Chatard wrote in an email to parents, adding that "the intent of the initiation activity was not to harm or humiliate students." Chatard's February email announcing ...   More
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 BETH SLOVIC


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