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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Portland school boundary changes, version 18.12

Super Carole and her band of outlaws at the Portland school district are about to take another run at changing the grammar school boundaries in close-in northeast Portland. Previous attempts have been so ham-handed that they've fallen of their own weight, but the bureaucrats and the school board politicians who love them are hoping that this time, they can succeed in pushing several small groups of vulnerable blocks into less desirable schools without causing a general uprising.

So what are they bringing on the politcal front? Well, now the whole enterprise is being called "enrollment balancing," and of course the sheep at the O call things whatever the bureaucrats do. The other ploy is timing -- the school bureaucrats aren't showing their cards until Friday. That's right -- the Friday before Thanksgiving. Happy holidays from Super Carole! She's knocking five figures off the value of your home.

Nowadays it seems that the only thing that saves Portland from the school board is the incompetence of the school board itself. Private school tuition gains value here every year.

Comments (6)

OK, if you were in Super Carole's shoes, what would you do if some schools were overcrowded and others didn't have enough students to staff electives or different levels of classes? Just shrug and ignore it?

The main reason some schools in that region are "less desirable" is that they don't have certain programs (say, music, or PE, or art, or Geometry) for lack of staffing, and the reason they don't have enough staff is they don't have enough students. In that situation there is no incentive for the Onthefence family to send their kid to the under-staffed school, because that one family won't tilt the balance. Better to be kid #30 in art class than not to have one. But if the district, yes, balances enrollment, you can have good programs at the currently neglected schools.

Gotta run, I'll try to take another stab at this later.

I'm with Julie on this one. I've followed this particular boundary issue for the past year, as it may impact our eldest child who will be starting kindergarten next year. This is a tough issue that defies easy explanations or solutions. PPS messed up royally last year with its public outreach around the Alameda boundary change, and unfortunately the process pitted groups of families against each other. They've been a bit more communicative and thoughtful about it this time, but in the end the current enrollments at several schools in NE Portland are unsustainable and some very hard choices are going to have to be made.

5 figure property value to switch from Alameda to Sabin? Are appraisers really that racist still? Maybe they'll look at test scores and class size and the values will go up! Seems like some people (not you, sir) are using the property value argument as a disguised 'we don't want our kids going to school with THOSE kids' argument. With the asininely easy ability to transfer I don't think it'll effect property value at all. Not defending the process though.

At one of his last board meetings, Mr David Revolving-Door Wynde, made an officious statement to the citizens of Portland: "People need to get over this idea that where they live entitles them to send their kids to a certain school." Then he left the elected board to accept a six figure salary under Super Carole fixing it like that. Does anybody remember the public process by which this momentous change in policy was made? I missed it.

With the asininely easy ability to transfer

I believe they are changing that, too. At least they were in Version 18.11.

Alameda is universally perceived as a better school than Sabin or Irvington. That affects the value of the property presently in the Alameda district, and yes, it's by $10,000 or more per home. It does not affect my family's education, however. We do not currently attend Portland public schools, in large part because of the constant drama over school closures and funding problems. And even if we did, I'm sure no one already in the Alameda student body is going to be forced out.

Folks in NE believe that Hollyrood and Alameda have better students and less behavior problems than Sabin, Rigler or Irvington. They purchased homes that allow them to send their children to the former schools and pay outrageous sums in real property tax. Living in certain areas should give people's children a right to go to neighborhood schools. That is one of the reasons why they spend so damn much for the homes they live in.

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