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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Portland Public Schools Budget Slashed

Posted by Stefan Kamph on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Over a hundred Portland teachers at all grade levels may get laid off due to budget woes.

In response to Governor Kulongoski's proposed across-the-board 9% budget cuts, a weak state economy and the fact that $16 million of next year's Portland Public Schools budget comes from reserve funds, Superintendent Carole Smith has proposed budget cutbacks totaling nearly $20 million.

This is her second attempt to save money in the coming years, after a proposed pay freeze was stoutly rejected by the teachers' union last week. At stake was a two percent pay raise next year, which teachers retained after 19 months of negotiations earlier this year.

From PPS's list of proposed cuts:

Central support and operations: $3.1 million
PPS central services and operations — including administration, finance and payroll, transportation, building maintenance and more — will cut spending on materials and services, as well as reduce staff by the equivalent of 25 full-time positions (or FTE).

Special education and English as a Second Language: $4.6 million
Reductions to these services, staffed centrally but touching all schools and programs, include elimination of the equivalent of 52 full-time teaching positions through shifts in staffing assignments and a delay of program enhancements.

School staffing: $11.6 million
This cut will eliminate the equivalent of 126 teaching positions in PPS schools — further reducing already lean school staffing.

"No way to sugarcoat the news," PPS wrote on its Facebook page. Smith sent a letter to families discussing her recommendations.

The school board will discuss these potential cuts at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, at 501 N. Dixon St.

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