Portland Public Schools Adds More Teachers to Budget After Parental Outcry

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A group of high school parents have been speaking out against Smith's initial $466 million budget proposal for weeks, protesting the staffing allocation with an eight-period schedule that mandates crowded study halls or free periods for a number of students. Resources and a ruling on a teacher's contract prevents most students from taking eight classes on the alternating block schedule.

The parents' concerns -- backed up by three board members -- pressured Smith to allocate 11 additional positions to high schools last week, but she halted finalizing staffing after community members pushed for even more teachers. On Monday, Smith came back to the board with 47 more full-time positions, using money carved out of other areas in the budget.

Smith said there would be tradeoffs, such as delaying a literacy textbook adoption for younger grades and taking away positions usually set aside to deal with unexpected enrollment fluctuations in the fall.

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