Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith Resigns in Wake of Damning Lead Report

"I have reached the decision that I need to move up the date of my departure," she wrote Monday.

Minutes after the release of a damning report on how Portland Public Schools handled the discovery of elevated lead levels in its drinking water, Superintendent Carole Smith announced she is resigning immediately.

The investigative report on Portland Public Schools' handling of lead in its water—released this morning—paints a dismal picture of the school district's handling of the problems.

In response, Superintendent Carole Smith announced her retirement, offering 90 days' notice.

"Having seen the district through the conclusion of the Stoll Berne investigation report and providing the board with a management response, I have reached the decision that I need to move up the date of my departure," she wrote.

Board Chair Tom Koehler tells WW that Smith's departure will be immediate.

"This timing gives the Board the opportunity to bring in interim leadership this summer before the beginning of school, as we continue a national search for a permanent superintendent," he says.

"The Board will double down on its focus to lead the district," Koehler, "and make decisions in the best interest of the 48,000 kids we serve and the taxpayers and voters to whom we are accountable."

Paul Anthony, the lone board member to publicly call for Smith's resignation until today, praised Smith's decision to leave now.

"I think she made a good decision that is in the best interest of the children and the district, and I wish her very well going forward," says Anthony.

This spring the district found elevated lead levels at two schools, but failed to disclose the results for upwards of two months. WW then reported that the district had known about elevated lead levels at dozens of schools since at least 2012, but did not tell teachers or parents.

The investigation confirms the district did not have proper procedures in place to handle lead testing or for alerting the public.

The report also makes clear the ineptitude extended far beyond two officials placed on leave in June. It says Chief Operating Officer Tony Magliano and senior environmental manager Andy Fridley were not alone in creating the problems.

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