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PPS Releases Full Investigative Report on $11,000 Spreadsheet

The report, though dry, lends support to questions about contract.

Portland Public Schools last week released the full investigative report on the awarding of a no-bid $11,000 contract that yielded a nine-page spreadsheet on voter turnout in past PPS campaigns.

The investigation, completed in July by an attorney outside PPS, is fairly dry reading at just six pages. But it does contain a few nuggets of information that give further credence to the questions that have surrounded the contract after WW first reported on its existence in January.

Jon Isaacs, PPS's then-spokesman, inked the no-bid PPS contract with political consultant Jeremy Wright after Wright wrapped up work on the 2014 campaign to renew PPS's operating levy. State records show the Portlanders for Schools campaign, although successful, ended in debt, and it still owed Wright money.

Among the questions: Did Isaacs, who worked on PPS's 2012 construction bond campaign before snagging a job with the district, know that the campaign owed Wright money? And was the contract intended to make up for that? Isaacs agreed to pay Wright $75 an hour for about 150 hours, up to $12,000.

The report, by attorney Kyle Abraham, concludes: "There is no direct information that Isaacs knew Wright still owed money from the Portlanders for Schools; however, I find it is likely that Isaacs was aware Portlanders for Schools still owed Wright money."

To the larger point of whether Isaacs did his due diligence when awarding a contract to Wright without formally vetting other proposals, Abraham writes: "Isaacs was aware of at least six individuals who could have completed the work, but he did not contact any of them. Isaacs did not contact anyone to assess if $12,000 was a reasonable estimate for the amount of the contract. Isaacs set the contract amount on his own experience; however, Isaacs did not have the required expertise to develop the formulas necessary for the work under the contract. Independently, Isaacs did not know what the full scope of the work would require before he set the amount of the contract."

Isaacs did not respond to requests for comment last week. He no longer works for PPS; he announced in March he was leaving the district to work for Uber.

PPS released the report to parent activist Kim Sordyl who repeatedly asked for it after PPS initially released a two-page summary of the report in August.

That summary says only: "There is no evidence that respondent [Isaacs] knew contractor [Wright] was owed money by Portlander's for Schools at the time a personal services contract was awarded to contractor by respondent."