Live chat: Portland school balancing
10:43
The Oregonian: 
Hi everyone, welcome to the live chat
Wednesday December 5, 2012 10:43 The Oregonian
10:43
The Oregonian: 
We'll begin in about 15 minutes.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 10:43 The Oregonian
10:44
The Oregonian: 
You can enter questions in the queue now. There will be a slight delay before you see them appear on the screen, once we begin.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 10:44 The Oregonian
11:00
Larry Bingham: 
Hi. Larry Bingham here. I cover NE, though Nicole is our lead PPS reporter. I covered last year's re-balancing meetings and process in central NE and am happy to answer questions. I'm also curious to hear what you think.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:00 Larry Bingham
11:01
The Oregonian: 
Thanks for coming everyone.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:01 The Oregonian
11:01
Nicole Dungca: 
Hi, everyone. I'm Nicole Dungca, the Portland Public Schools reporter. We're here to answer any questions you have and would also love to hear what you all think about the process and proposals.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:01 Nicole Dungca
11:02
The Oregonian: 
What action exactly, is being proposed.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:02 The Oregonian
11:02
The Oregonian: 
Just to sort of orient the conversation.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:02 The Oregonian
11:02
The Oregonian: 
Then we'll take questions from the readers.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:02 The Oregonian
11:02
The Oregonian: 
There are a lot of questions. So please be patient.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:02 The Oregonian
11:03
Nicole Dungca: 
So just to catch some people up, PPS is considering implementing several changes -- such as school consolidations, boundary changes or the addition of a middle school -- to help balance enrollments in the Jefferson cluster in North and Northeast Portland.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:03 Nicole Dungca
11:04
Nicole Dungca: 
Officials are saying this is necessary to provide stable staffing for full programs at these schools. Last week, they released 6 different proposals and plan on narrowing it down to two or three before winter break. A vote could come as soon as January 2013.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:04 Nicole Dungca
11:04
[Comment From RobertRobert: ] 
Why does PPS keep using the "Jefferson cluster" moniker when these schools don't actually feed into Jefferson High anymore?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:04 Robert
11:05
[Comment From Trace SalmonTrace Salmon: ] 
Glad to be here. I am currently PTA President at King School. We would like this process to not just shift around the landscape in North and Northeast Portland schools but to solve longstanding issues in equity. That inequity currently leads to low capture rates across our schools.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:05 Trace Salmon
11:05
The Oregonian: 
Trace Larry will take your question
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:05 The Oregonian
11:05
Nicole Dungca: 
Robert, while all of these schools do feed into another comprehensive high school, they also guarantee students a spot at Jefferson, which is now an options school (other students from PPS have to apply to Jefferson and aren't guaranteed a spot).
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:05 Nicole Dungca
11:06
Larry Bingham: 
Thanks, Trace, for the comment. I read a lot on the parent group Facebook page about capture rates this morning. What specifically do schools want to see PPS do to improve capture rates?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:06 Larry Bingham
11:06
[Comment From Lluvia MerelloLluvia Merello: ] 
How can we have such disparity in resources in our two clusters that neighbor each other. Roosevelt middle school is about to roll out 500 Ipads for their kids. Jefferson cluster schools have nothing even comparable to that.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:06 Lluvia Merello
11:07
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
PPS tried to close Jeff High a couple of years ago but were beaten back. Would they still like to close it or have they committed to it long-term?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:07 Guest
11:07
Nicole Dungca: 
Lluvia, I think you're talking about Roosevelt High, not middle school. And that school is actually in its third year of a School Improvement Grant, which gave it a big infusion of money from the federal government.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:07 Nicole Dungca
11:07
The Oregonian: 
Guest- Some would say they've tried to close the school several times. It's been restructured many many times in the last decade.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:07 The Oregonian
11:08
Nicole Dungca: 
Just for background, King K-8 school also has that same grant, but is one year behind.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:08 Nicole Dungca
11:08
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
How much say do parents really have? Are the decisions made already or can changes be made?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:08 Guest
11:08
Nicole Dungca: 
Guest, this process doesn't touch closing Jefferson High School. It just concerns its elementary and K-8 schools.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:08 Nicole Dungca
11:08
The Oregonian: 
Guest- The current structure of the cluster came after a protracted battle over high schools.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:08 The Oregonian
11:09
Larry Bingham: 
Guest, I think parents have a lot of say. I keep hearing the brd and staff say they want feedback to the six proposals. Some board members even asked at a meeting whether parents in the Jeff cluster want a middle school or not.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:09 Larry Bingham
11:09
[Comment From CliffordClifford: ] 
Does the District support the Humboldt Neighborhood Association's policy regarding the retaining of names of schools and other public institutions named for former slave owners or others who did not respect equal opportunity for all?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:09 Clifford
11:09
[Comment From Trace SalmonTrace Salmon: ] 
Larry, capture rates need to be improved by assuring parents of equitable programs. Right now, dollars follow students and there has been long-standing flight. Our small schools can't compete in this environment for programs in many cases. Flight leads to weaker programs, which lead to flight to focus options and charters.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:09 Trace Salmon
11:09
Nicole Dungca: 
In terms of how much say parents have, officials say they're listening and recording all the feedback from these community meetings. So far, there have been more than 13 -- at least one at every school in the cluster and two this week. There's another next week, as well.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:09 Nicole Dungca
11:10
The Oregonian: 
Guest- I would say a lot of political effort has been put into the current structure of Jefferson, so I would be surprise to see another radical change soon.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:10 The Oregonian
11:10
The Oregonian: 
Guest- but it's happened before
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:10 The Oregonian
11:10
Nicole Dungca: 
Clifford, I'm not familiar with that policy, so I can't really speak to that. I haven't heard any mention of it at the meetings, either.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:10 Nicole Dungca
11:10
[Comment From Trace SalmonTrace Salmon: ] 
Whether or not PPS is listening, will they give us a chance to refine the final proposals with the deadline we are given of implementation in fall?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:10 Trace Salmon
11:11
Larry Bingham: 
Exactly, Trace! Agreed. So I'm curious if there's any consensus building around any of the six proposals. Trace, which of the six do you folks at King like the most?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:11 Larry Bingham
11:11
[Comment From NoPoMomNoPoMom: ] 
I know Larry covered the Sabin/Alameda/etc. process last year (and the year before) and would like to hear how he thinks the district is handling things this time out so far.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:11 NoPoMom
11:11
[Comment From JyothiJyothi: ] 
History always is a good predictor of the future. That is why the more I learn about the history of this district and this cluster, the less confident I am that this process or these proposals are going to go well for our kids. This district seems to be famous for 1..addressing the symptoms, not the cause.. In this case not really asking why is the enrollment not balanced but coming up with plans on paper to “fix” the problem 2. having fragmented conversations 3. not having a vision ..series of shortsighted, shortlived decisions. 4. Not being transparent 5.Not following through on its promises. As a result this is creating a nomadic group of kids and instability esp. in the Jeff cluster.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:11 Jyothi
11:11
[Comment From NoPoMomNoPoMom: ] 
Why couldn't PPS give us these proposals w/ economic impact statements? It's hard to know, for example, whether it will be ridiculously costly to open two middle schools.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:11 NoPoMom
11:12
Nicole Dungca: 
Trace, you're touching on what I think is a big concern many community members have about a pretty liberal transfer policy. Judy Brennan, the district's director of transfer and enrollment, said that has been a very common concern that they're taking into account.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:12 Nicole Dungca
11:12
The Oregonian: 
To the readers, you are asking great questions.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:12 The Oregonian
11:12
Larry Bingham: 
Hi NoPoMom. Last year it seems as if the school groups had come together and supported, as a whole, some of the options. For instance, Rigler seemed to have a campaign to get kids to Beaumont. I haven't seen any grouped efforts like that so far. I haven't seen or herd much feedback yet on what proposals are most popular and which are deemed stinkers, actually.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:12 Larry Bingham
11:13
Nicole Dungca: 
Brennan said last night (as you know, since I saw you there) that they could address limiting transfers, since so many people have talked about it. And it's something the district has already done in several other instances, if we look at how they've tightened up a lot of transfer spots at high schools to help keep students in neighborhood schools.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:13 Nicole Dungca
11:13
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
For a parent who hasn't been paying close attention, what are the potential downsides of balancing?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:13 Guest
11:13
Nicole Dungca: 
NoPoMom, really good question. People are itching for actual dollar amounts to see if it's feasible.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:13 Nicole Dungca
11:13
[Comment From Trace SalmonTrace Salmon: ] 
Nicole, the documents released show they've heard the concern on transfers and suggests what enrollments might be if the policy is changed but they don't discuss what changes would be made.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:13 Trace Salmon
11:14
[Comment From Trace SalmonTrace Salmon: ] 
None of the six address our needs really. We need a bigger boundary and larger 6-8 enrollment. A new middle school is an unknown quantity. No boundaries have been proposed. ACCESS placed at King may not help our program and may compete for space.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:14 Trace Salmon
11:14
[Comment From guestguest: ] 
with jeffersons continual decline and achievement marks that are as low as it gets, I wonder why is everyone so concerned with closing this school?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:14 guest
11:14
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Nicole: They've had 13 meetings, yes. But just having meetings doesn't necessarily mean that they've listened, or that these 6 scenarios have anything to do with the content of those meetings or the substance of what N/NE parents actually want. Some of these scenarios look like red herrings, not worth the paper they're printed on.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:14 Guest
11:15
Nicole Dungca: 
Part of the reason, it seems, is that officials say these are likely to change (which a lot of parents are frustrated about, since it makes it harder to comment on them). So far, officials said that all are economically "feasible," and that the middle school options would likely be more expensive because of more transportation needs.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:15 Nicole Dungca
11:15
Larry Bingham: 
Hi Guest. Downsides to re-balancing? Depends on what your school values the most, I suppose, and which proposals move forward. The downsides are also outlined on each of the proposals, along with some of the pros. One downside to not re-balancing is the upper grade programs at many of the K-8s remain weak.
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:15 Larry Bingham
11:15
[Comment From JaneJane: ] 
I don't understand why the district is not proposing to close more than one school under any of the scenarios. Isn't the problem that they are trying to fix that there aren't enough students in the schools in question, particularly in grades 6 through 8? It seems as if they may be overthinking a fix. Why not just close Ockley Green and King, since they're so small and unpopular with neighborhood residents?
Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:15 Jane
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