PPS Divestment by Cluster

by Steve, September 3rd, 2007

schoolsThanks to reader Zarwen, who pointed out that my ZIP code map was a little fuzzy around the edges. This prompted me to spend some time collating the PPS attendance data by cluster. The result is a more accurate (if not substantially different) view of how Portland Public Schools’ open transfer policy has created a two-tiered school system by unevenly distributing state general fund money around the city.

The pattern is the same: massive divestment in working class and poor neighborhoods, with those funds reinvested in the hottest real estate markets of Portland.

(Click on image for full-size view.)

I’ve based this on the exact same as the ZIP code map, but I’ve reorganized the data by cluster instead of ZIP. Have a look at the reorganized spread sheet if you’re as nuts for numbers as me.

Methodology for this map is the same as for the ZIP code map. That is, for each school, I subtract the number of PPS students in the attendance area from the number of students at the school and multiply the result by that school’s budget per student. I then totaled these numbers for each cluster. For the sake of this map, I’ve included Benson in the Cleveland cluster, since it is physically within the attendance area.

So no new conclusions here, folks, but hopefully a more accurate view of what I’ve been talking about. The next time somebody talks to you about “failing schools” in our poverty-affected neighborhoods, you might want to point out that you get what you pay for.

Edited to say: Hey, happy Labor Day! I hope you got a paid holiday, and if not, I hope you got time and a half or a comp day. If not, well, damn, I’m really sorry. Anyway, here’s to all us working folks who create all the wealth in the world and keep the economy humming. Cheers!