Sources tell WW that Matt Morton won't run again for the Portland Public Schools Board this spring, creating an open seat in what is already a hotly contested school board election.

Morton, who declined to comment about his plans, has drawn criticism while on the board over allegations he has a conflict of interest. Morton also serves as executive director of the Native American Youth and Family Center, which has contracts with PPS.

Morton's exit clears the way for a newcomer who could change the direction of the board. Paul Anthony, a North Portland parent activist and CFO for a Beaverton-based financial services company, announced in December that he's running for Morton's seat.

Four of the seven seats on the school board are up for re-election in May, putting Superintendent Carole Smith's majority support in jeopardy.

And the election comes just as Smith plans major changes to school boundaries and transfer rules.

Two of Morton's current colleagues on the board, Ruth Adkins and Greg Belisle, are also staying mum about whether they'll run for re-election. Bobbie Regan, the fourth candidate up for re-election, appears to be running again. It would be her fourth term. 

Candidates for the May19 election must file by March 19.