Parents urge PPS board not to close schools

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by Abbey Gibb, KGW reporter

NWCN.com

Posted on February 4, 2013 at 11:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 5 at 12:17 PM

PORTLAND --  More than 100 parents and students met Monday night with the Portland Public School Board, looking for answers on plans to balance school populations in the group that feeds into Jefferson High School.

One of the district’s proposals has been to close Chief Joseph Elementary and combine it with what the district calls the under-performing magnet program at Ockley Green School.

With the situation in the discussion stage, the failure to give a timetable and specifics has left parents like Sarah Roy frustrated and confused.

"We feel like there's a huge lack of information and questions unanswered and it's hard to know where to go from here," Roy said.

At Monday night's meeting, the district allowed a few parents to speak. All shared a similar message.  "The proposals don't have the support of the community. We're asking the board to reject any school closures and any permanent changes," said Rita Moore.

More: School district recommendations for Jefferson cluster

But Superintendent Carole Smith suggested the opposite to her school board. "My recommendation to you is to do a single K-8," Smith said.

That statement brought an angry outburst from parents who shouted "Don't you have any questions?"

There was also concern from board members. "Does this actually get to the issues we're facing in the Jefferson cluster or is it going to exasperate those issues? I don't know the answer to that and I'm really hesitant to move forward on something I'm not really sure about," said school board member Matt Morton.

What's next:

Feb. 9 -- 10 a.m. to noon public hearing at Jefferson High School. Sign up in advance to testify at chusonqu@pps.net or call (503) 916-3906

Feb. 11 --  6 p.m. public testimony taken at board meeting. Sign up in advance to testify at chusonqu@pps.net or call 503-916-3906

Feb. 25 --  6 p.m, the school board votes on recommendations.

Email feedback can be sent to carolesmith@pps.net and schoolboard@pps.net.

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