The Portland Public School Board passed a budget plan Monday night that closes two local schools, but preserves teaching jobs across the district.
The $456 million general fund budget would preserve 110 teaching positions if the city of Portland comes through with a pledge by Mayor Sam Adams to transfer $5 million of city revenues to the school district.
Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy for Women, and Humboldt School, both serving low-income and minority populations in north and northeast Portland, are being closed for low enrollment. Humboldt’s program will be consolidated into Boise Elliot School.
School board members said they are upset with the cuts, which have catalyzed a high level of emotional unrest from students, parents and educators.
The budget preserved, however, a full school year for students and staff, with the help from the teachers union and mandated furlough days. Another $2.65 million dollars was saved with 10 furlough days for non-represented central office staff, plus three furlough days for principals.
Pay increases negotiated for teachers will have a six month delay, along with text book and technology purchases. High school staff will give back $400,000 from a recent arbitration ruling on high school workloads and schedules.
Although many residents are upset about the changes in the Portland’s school district, Superintendant Carole Smith recognized their determination to show how important education and schools are to the community.
Smith said she is hopeful that in the future Portland Public Schools can work with state leaders to find solutions that deliver adequate funding to all of Oregon’s schools.
The formal and final budget adoption is expected June 25, after the City of Portland’s budget is approved on May 30.