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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 16, 2005 7:57 PM. The previous post in this blog was No prob. The next post in this blog is He's Number 1. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, September 16, 2005

We've been having fun all summer long

A thousand thanks to the many bright young staffers at Grant Park Pool, where swim lessons ended tonight (brrr) and the water gets drained out come Sunday. We had a fantastic summer and will miss heading down there. This is the City of Portland at its finest. Too bad we're building whole new "luxury" neighborhoods that will never have such things, and letting similarly nice public facilities fall apart so that we can have streetcars and aerial trams [rim shot]. Anyway, thanks again, staff, and good luck with your studies this school year!

Comments (14)

And as a further "thank you" for your devoted work on the pool staff, we will continue to underfund our public schools so that you have a game chance of starting your 2006 summer vacation a month early. Congratulations!

um, Professor Jack, you neglected the [rim shot].

Kudos as well to Sellwood pool and the swim team coaches. My daughter had a great time.

Thank you. I've got a PDC post coming, and I'm saving my rim shots for that. There are at least three good jokes in there.

I appreciate Mr. Laquedem's comment, but let's not inspire panic yet among Portland school parents. The budget for this school year is set, and kids will be in school through June 14, 2006.

It's the following school year when the local income tax and its $50 million a year for PPS will be gone, gone, gone, and when budget woes could threaten to start summer 2007 early.

However, our School Board is quite determined to give us an option to head off that budget scenario. They're meeting with a group of school superintendents from the tri-county area to explore whether there could be a viable regional funding measure for schools; barring that, it could be more local or even a PPS-only measure. There's no proposal yet, but there is hope. So stay tuned.

Sarah Carlin Ames
PPS Communications

"Regional"? Sounds unlikely. If you can't get the folks within the Portland city limits to vote for the tax, good luck trying to get it out of the cheapies in Washington and Clackamas Counties.

I'd have to say fat chance on any new tax. Regional or otherwise.
Until the district and school advocates go to bat on other issues such as the ongoing skimming (11 Urban Renewal Districts covering 1000s of acres) of school and basic services dollars they'll never "harness the potential" (Today's O story)

The district better look beyond their inner circle for some genuine harness makers.

Realize the drain on education dollars at the NEA website.

Declining enrollment (also mentioned in today's O story)is also a yet to be acknowledged severe problem.
One which is brought about by the same agenda abusing Urban Renewal and skimming school dollars to fund it.
As the PDC uses "affordable housing" (and other feel good gimmicks) as a shroud to cover their push for high density at ALL costs they worsen the problem in more ways then they will every measure.
We need to get back to basics,

The strain to cling to the old and focus in on a new vision for Portland and the region is causing total blindness.

Or "Keep Portland Weird".

I noticed this on next week's council agenda.

Parks and Recreation

*1118 Authorize commitment and expenditure of Portland Parks and Recreation funds for contribution to acquisition of Public Storage property in the South Waterfront for a neighborhood park (Ordinance)

This looks like General Fund money that should be fixing up the public facilities Jack mentioned. An "emergency" ? ordinance. How much? Has Washington HS been paid for yet? Why isn't PDC "development money" paying for this?

There is no question that PPS will be in dire budget shape next year when the ITAX expires.

In round numbers, they have a $400 million general fund budget. The ITAX is $50 million of that. So 12% of its budget will disappear.

Now what?

Did PPS take steps over the last three years, knowing the tax was temporary, to reduce its cost structure? Nope.

Now they will ask for another tax. The fact is, PPS is a high cost district, spending 15% - 25% more per student than other metro area districts. This is NOT due to its student demographics. (See my May 3rd post on my blog )

I personally asked Vicki Phillips how PPS would reduce costs, and she basically had no plan.

For years they have refused to bring their cost structure in line. Their only answer is for taxpayers to pay for it.

A regional tax? Ha. Beaverton and Lake Oswego school districts have all but said no to the idea already.


I know that you and Jim Scherzinger, former PPS superintendent and former long-time Legislative Revenue Officer, have argued each other to a stalemate about your unusual calculations of PPS spending compared to other districts. (You apparently don't agree with the state Department of Education's database on the topic.)

Using your calculations, you claim that our spending is 15 to 25 percent higher than other districts.

My question is this: If we are indeed spending that much more money, where do you think we get the extra money from?

Right now, with the local option property tax gone, and the local construction bond levy history, the only "extra" tax Portlanders pay their schools is the local income tax surcharge. The rest of the General Fund budget is primarily from the State School Fund and from our reserves (and yes, the Board has been putting some aside, particularly from property sales, as they look ahead to the end of the I-tax).

But every school district in Oregon gets the same amount per student from the state (adjusted for those demographics you dismiss), and all the Multnomah County income tax is shared with other districts on a per-student basis, too.

If we spend more per kid than other districts, it's got to be coming from some other place. More federal grant dollars? (Good for us, I'd say, if that were the case.) More private fundraising? I know the school foundations have upped their donations to schools.

But otherwise, I don't really see how we have the revenue to support your claim that we spend far more than others.

Or are you not looking at current budget figures? The 2005-06 PPS budget is posted on-line at

Sarah Carlin Ames
PPS Communications

For the life of me I can't understand why the district always leads with the same punch.
More money.

If you want to increase public support and funding why not do something to demonstrate (to those you should target)that you deserve it?

You keep trying to appeal to the same support and votes you already have.
Why? They are in the bag.


Do something. Try something different.

Do something bold like dump the current teacher health care coverage and establish district funded medical savings accounts.
The current 950.00/month per teacher is ridiculous.
And no don't give the teachers another raise to go along with it. Make the change first.

Without any shift in the status quo the only thing increasing will be voter aggravation.

Stay the course and risk losing support.

And of course PPS must lead the way to dumping CIMCAM.

Our school reform has tainted public education in this state and continues to hobble our ability to provide basic education.
We don't even have the simplest of adequate standards for math and English course requirements for graduation.
Does it not mean something that after 14 years of "high standards" school reform we continue to have nearly the lowest graduation standards in the country?
Wake up!


It s not MY CLAIM that PPS spends more than other districts. It is simply actual expenditure data downloaded directly from the ODE web site, which you falsely claim that I somehow don't "agree with." It is all documented and explained on my blog post.

You really ought to inform yourself before you start mischaracterizing what I have written. I mean as the PIO for PPS, it seems you'd be conversant about the numbers that the district itself releases to ODE.

And who cares where or how they get the $$? Are you really disputing the data from ODE on the basis of “Well, where does PPS get the extra $$?

Hey, I'm sure you've heard this before, but your husband's TV column is the best thing in the O, in fact, in any paper I've read other than the best nationals. Why doesn't he move on up?

On PPS, I hope the regional tax works out. Unlike others here, I think the politics of this is good. because Portland has a lower proportion of school age children, Wash and Clack county will come out ahead. I think this makes it palatable, as do the numbers being bandied about (between .35 - .9 of a percent).

Sorry to violate the policy but one more comment, Sarah. To tell me that I should not panic because you have funding for just one more year doesn't make me feel so good. If folks are getting ready to bail on the district in 06-07, they have to start making plans now.

The crisis is now. not 9 months from now.


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