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Board to Create PreK-8 Advisory Committee

The Portland Board of Public Education is planning to create a PreK-8 Advisory Committee to review enrollment at Portland’s elementary and middle schools and evaluate whether adjusting school attendance boundaries would result in efficiencies and programmatic enhancements and ensure equitable allocation of resources across the district.

The Board discussed the issue at workshop following its June 4 meeting and members plan to craft a resolution prior to their June 18 meeting that would authorize the creation of the new committee – which would include parents and other community members, staff, students and Board members. The resolution, which the Board is expected to vote on June 18, also would detail the committee’s specific charge.

The Board hopes to appoint members of the committee by August, in time for them to begin their work at the start of 2024-2025 school year in September.

The Board believes that deep community participation and input is needed to achieve the best outcomes and solutions from this review. It is expected that the committee would consist of 12-14 members, including:

●       two members of the Board to be nominated by the Chair

●       two staff representatives to be recommended by PEA and/or BASE unions

●       two current students or recent alumni

●       two building leaders to be recommended by PAA

●       two parents/caretakers of current students

●       Two to four additional community members    

Once the committee is created, members of the PPS community will be encouraged to apply. The Board will seek applicants who represent the diversity of backgrounds and experiences representative of the Portland Public Schools.

The last time the district consolidated school boundaries or changed school configurations was during the mid-2000s. Since that time, the district’s demographics and enrollment patterns have changed substantially, impacting schools in a variety of ways. For example, some schools have a population of 75% to 80% low-income students while others are in the 20% range. Also, some schools have many multilingual students who need English language learner (ELL) services while other schools have few such students.

One of the five priorities of the district’s proposed new Strategic Plan – which came before the Board for a first reading on June 4 and is slated for a final vote on June 18 – is “Systems: Streamlining Operations for Equity, Efficacy, and Accountability.”

That priority includes an initiative to “design and implement a sustainable multi-year financial model that enables PPS to successfully implement the strategic plan and equitably allocate resources across the district.” The review of preK-8 boundaries by the advisory committee would be a part of that initiative.

View the June 4 Board workshop. The workshop involved several discussion items and this issue was the final one.