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Friday, May 28, 2010

Marshall High School to Portland Public Schools: Shape Up or We're Leaving

Posted by Stefan Kamph on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Portland Public Schools (PPS) Superintendent Carole Smith wants to close down the three small schools operating at the Marshall campus in outer Southeast, and use some of the space for a tiny magnet school.

That has Lents residents and the school community up in arms: they say that if PPS doesn't want to put in the money and effort to give Marshall a comprehensive curriculum, they should hand the school over to David Douglas school district, which is in charge of educating far-east Portland.

lentsmap.jpg

After authorizing a study earlier this week to see if that transfer would be feasible, Lents Neighborhood Association Chairman Nick Christiansen explained, "If PPS is willing to give up on the outer eastside, we need to look into what options exist to provide the educational foundation for a successful community."

Martha Rosenberger (Marshall 65) tells Carole Smith: We have possibly the highest diversity of any high school.
  • Martha Rosenberger (Marshall '65) tells Carole Smith: "We have possibly the highest diversity of any high school."
The specter of that threat hung over a community meeting held last night in the Marshall cafeteria. Smith faced questions and accusations from students, parents and teachers, whose sentiment was clear: don't take away our school.

"I've seen this neighborhood blossom," said Kay Del Marshall, a 1965 alumna. "I got a comprehensive education. Don't take that away from our neighborhood."

Parent Brad McFeters called on PPS to act: "We urge you to negotiate with David Douglas. We want to stay here."

While Smith has proposed a space-sharing agreement with David Douglas at Marshall, it doesn't sound like she's open to a complete handover at this point.

"We consider this to be our community," says Smith. "We want to continue serving it well. So that's the conversation, and I think we can end up with something cool."

David Douglas currently runs one high school—and with 3,000 students, it's the most crowded in the state. David Douglas spokesman Dan McHugh says it's too early to know if they'd be amenable to a switch. "If somebody ever came to us with a specific proposal our board would be open to listening," he says.

The Portland School Board votes June 21 on a more modest proposal to share some of the space with David Douglas.

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