PPS: Putting the Cart Before the Horse

by Steve, January 23rd, 2008

First, let me ask you: Can you imagine running a big city newspaper in the twenty-first century, and not having a Web site?

Evidently the Oregonian ran a letter I sent them, but I missed it because I rarely pick up the dead tree version. And their vertically separated sister organization, OregonLive.com, does not publish the entire newspaper online. Which is why big papers like the Oregonian will soon be a thing of the past.

So for those of you (like me) who missed it, here’s what it said (the headline is the O’s, not mine):

Transfers hurt N. Portland

Missing from Paul Schuberg’s proposal for combining Roosevelt and Jefferson high schools into one “21st century facility” is any discussion of size and demographics (“I, too, have a dream — for Jefferson High,” 1/21/08).

Roosevelt and Jefferson had a combined neighborhood area PPS population of 3,169 in the 2006-07 school year. Any serious facility plan must take into account that North Portland school enrollment declines are more a factor of the district’s loose transfer policy than demographics.

Maybe schools of this size would work; maybe not. But let’s be honest when discussing school facilities, and focus on providing adequate facilities where students live, not where they’ve ended up after more than a decade of mutually-reinforcing program cuts and out-transfers in North Portland.

I’ll be doing some more PPS data analysis to try to help the district understand that if they’re seriously talking about closing two high schools, they damn well better site the remaining and new schools based on neighborhood populations, and not current enrollment. Stay tuned.

60 Responses to “PPS: Putting the Cart Before the Horse”

  1. Comment from NJ:

    And a fine rebuttal LTE it was in the O’s print version today Mr. Rawley!

    And while we’re critizing how the O operates, what’s with providing print space for an “In my Opinion” piece to a person who lives in neither the Jefferson or Roosevelt clusters – as an avenue to advance his personal agenda to close both North Portland high schools, housed in OTHER PEOPLE’S communities?

    And I cannot fathom why an employee of Portland’s Bureau of ENVIRONMENTAL Services would advocate for destroying a beautiful Portland city park (the only remaining green space in Kenton, since PPS took away their elementary school) or for the resulting increase in pollution and negative health outcomes to Roosevelt students by suggesting they travel completely outside their cluster to attend what would become their neighborhood school.

    The real kicker, though, is that Mr. Schuberg apparently believes that as long as the school is named after MLK, all is well with the world, regardless of how much PPS continues to screw the families of North Portland and their precious children, regardless of how many educational inequities exist, or regardless of the fact that North Portland has already had a hugely disproportionate number of neighborhood schools closed.

    Martin Luther King Jr. would NOT support Mr. Schuberg’s plan, and it is beyond disrespect that his name was used in an attempt to justify such an outrageous plan, one that would further perpetuate the harm inflicted on the very people MLK sacrificed his life for.

  2. Comment from Steve:

    Schuberg’s “plan” is wrong on so many levels, but because of the O’s limitation on letter length, I chose to focus only on the most glaring problem with his loopy suggestion.

    Thanks for pointing out a few more problems with it. There are more, but why waste our breath?

    I would also add that if anybody seriously suggests closing Jefferson, there’s going to be an insurrection in North Portland.

  3. Comment from Rubycakes:

    I was a bit taken aback by yesterdays article in the O about “contraction”. It seems as though “they” are setting the stage for the closing of a couple of high schools. This is gonna get ugly.

    I hope that if it comes to that (closing schools) that the district is far sighted enough (HA) to hold onto the property so that they have space to build 20-50 years down the road when they’ll probably need it. I’ve seen examples of cities selling off property and then running out of space years down the road when they build new schools because the population grows so much.

    You have to think with the tens of thousands of people (even hundreds of thousands) of people said to be moving into the city in the next couple of decades that the school age population is going to explode as well. Wouldn’t it be wiser to hold on to property in logical areas to build those schools when they’re needed? It is going to be cheaper to hold onto it than try and outbid the competitors. But we can’t even plan for this year so how can we expect them to plan 50 years hence?

  4. Comment from GP:

    Paul Schulberg proposes naming the merged and relocated Jefferson/Roosevelt High School after Martin Luther King, Jr. I wonder if he even knows that PPS already has a King School – with a community center, and adjacent to a park although sadly neglected by the school district and the city. Maybe closing Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in NE Portland is also part of Mr. Shulberg’s dream.

  5. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Steve, good letter. The district doesn’t have their own act together enough at this point to even suggest closing high schools. The fact there should be over 3000 students in those two schools is a great example. So is the mess concerning having or not having comprehensive high schools. The city already went through a school closure process that was a mess. I am hoping the new Supt. is smart enough to understand this.

  6. Comment from Terry:

    I saw your letter, Steve. Didn’t look for it online, though.

    I agree. I know over here in Sellwod there’ s a real baby boom happening. It would be extremely shortsighted to close a high school based on current enrollments. Besides, the Quality Education Model recommends relatively small enrollments for high schools –about 1000 students for a 9-12 school.

    If current enrollments were evened out, they would come pretty close to the QEM recommendations.

    I’ll crunch the numbers to see what the mean enrollment is for all ten high schools.

  7. Comment from Steve:

    Based on the PPS comment that we’ve got enrollment enough for eight high schools, that would put enrollment right around 1400 at each school. That’s pretty similar to the school I went to.

    Compare to Beaverton, where all high schools but one have enrollment just over 2000. The one outlier, Westview, has 2,798(!) students this year.

    So I think PPS targets are reasonable (if not ideal). The trouble is, which schools do you close or merge? All clusters are pretty close in population, with Lincoln on the low end at 1375 and Marshall on the high end at 1640.

    Maybe they should start with a proposal to merge Wilson and Lincoln and see how far that gets.

    Of course, the state of the facilities and their historic value have to factor in. I’m going to be digging into all of this soon.

  8. Comment from rubycakes:

    A Lincoln Wilson combo would be around 2800+. Good luck getting those two populations to agree to something like that.

    I assume you were kidding…

  9. Comment from Zarwen:

    Well, Rubycakes hit it on the head; yes, they ARE setting the stage to close a high school. There has been talk of it for 10 years or more, but I think this “Reshaping Schools” crap means it is finally making its way to the front burner.

    They may yet try to close Jeff, even though it is a political hot potato, because PCC has been wanting to buy the property for so long.

    Actually, the logical thing to do would be to consolidate Marshall and Madison. The students could all go to Marshall while Madison is being rebuilt. Then when they are all at Madison, Marshall could be sold off to the David Douglas District. Their one and only high school is very overcrowded, so I am sure they would jump at the opportunity.

    As far as where to site elementary schools, I had coffee with a friend (and fellow PPS parent) this morning. She suggested siting them on barges on the Willamette.

  10. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    No one is closing Jeff. Just sayin’. GO DEMOS!

    I know some people I would like to “site on barges,” but our beloved PPS students are not among them.

  11. Comment from Steve:

    Any two combined clusters would be between 2600 and 3200 in high school-aged population.

    Yeah, I was joking about Lincoln and Wilson. But based on demographics, it would make more sense than Jeff and Roosevelt, or even Madison and Marshall.

    But they wouldn’t dare try something like this on the West side.

    Any closure or merger will necessarily involve redrawing boundaries district wide.

    This could get ugly.

  12. Comment from rubycakes:

    Yes, Lincoln/Wilson makes the most sense geographically. Although Benson is centrally located you could divide those kids up into Grant, Cleveland, Franklin and Jefferson.

    I think people need to come to grips with the fact that Jefferson is the most likely candidate to close. If has a small population and a huge campus. Steve is right about the neighborhood. If all the kids in the cluster went to Jefferson they’d have a large school but for all the reasons mentioned it isn’t. Like I said earlier today if the district is smart they will keep the property and remodel, rebuild a school there. Maybe wait 10 years and open a fancy new high school “Thomas Jefferson High School For Science and Technology”. Maybe a “restart” is what needs to happen.

    (ducks from the impending outcry)

  13. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Steve, well that solves it. Lincoln has the smallest population so it is the school closed. I am sure all will easily agree to this clear logic. 7

  14. Comment from Zarwen:

    Steve’s title is dead-on about PPS putting the cart before the horse. Should decisions be made based on current enrollments at buildings, or does PPS want to do the sensible thing (gasp) and try to return students to their local high schools? This is the $64,000 question that needs to be answered before anyone starts “redesigning” anything.

  15. Comment from Zarwen:

    PS Wacky, you knew I was being facetious, right?

    Rubycakes, based on your last comment, it reads like you are unaware that Benson has no local catchment area? Benson is a magnet high school that draws city-wide. Should it close, its students would return to their current neighborhood high schools by default (unless they pursued other options through the lottery). There would be nothing to divvy up.

  16. Comment from Steve:

    That’s what I’m talking about, Zarwen. If we’re going to have eight high schools, and one of them is Benson, that’s seven neighborhood schools (down from the current 9) They damn well better be comprehensive and have comparable offerings, and they damn well better be sized and spread out based on where people live, not where they’re currently attending.

    (And I’m certain Wacky got the sarcasm.)

  17. Comment from rubycakes:


    You assume incorrectly.
    You’re putting words in my mouth (or rather thoughts in my head). I am well aware that there is no feeder system for Benson. Those kids would still have to go somewhere right? There are what, 1500ish kids that go to Benson?

    I think that would be quite a (scary) statement to close Benson. Benson is a unique technical school that offers an unmatched curriculum. Would you call it comprehensive? Not so sure. My point was based on the geographic location of the building, even though they come from all over the city I doubt many come from the west side of town.

  18. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Zarwen, yer funny.

  19. Comment from Steve:

    Oh, and Zarwen, it’s not a $64,000 question, it’s a $43 million question. Just sayin’.

  20. Comment from Anne:

    Rubycakes your comment that Benson is “a unique tecnical school tha offers an unmatched curriculum” brought this to mind: within the last two years the principal at Benson decided to CUT the drafting program!!!
    No PR from PPS can deny that the programs at Jefferson were gutted, and programs at Benson are being eroded, too.

  21. Comment from Anne:

    I don’t think anyone is in denial that Jefferson is the most likely school to close.

  22. Comment from Steve:

    There are several factors the district will take into account when choosing which schools to close, rebuild and merge.
    1. enrollment
    2. neighborhood population
    3. building condition

    Given that #2 and #3 are pretty close for all 10 schools, I suspect PPS will take into account a fourth factor: the amount of resistance a community is likely to put forth.

    If they seriously talk about closing or merging Jefferson, there will be an insurrection.

    That’s why I suspect they’ll do what Zarwen suggested, and merge Franklin and Marshall. I’d be concerned about Madison, too, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they proposed a new high school on the old Adams site to replace both Madison and Roosevelt.

    Here’s an interesting factoid: if you could fold the 2,227 PPS high school students not going to neighborhood schools or Benson back into neighborhood schools and Benson, we’d have pretty close to the 1,400 student target PPS seems to be aiming for.

    Personally, I’m beginning to suspect PPS staff have already drawn up a plan that they’re not sharing with us, and have already slated schools for closure.

  23. Comment from Mary:

    We lived in the eastern edge of the Franklin cluster until last year. A big reason for us moving was my strong conviction that Franklin would be closed and we would be in the Marshall cluster. Part of the land Franklin sits on is already zoned for redevelopment. The limited and channelled offerings of the Marshall “academies” are not what I consider to be a comprehensive high school education. And if Franklin did stay open I felt that Vicki “rule by your cult of personality and the Gates Foundation” Phillips was bound to crap the school out with Gates academies. At least Phillips is gone now and so are we.

    And Benson Tech is a shell of the technical school it once was. I know people who graduated 20 years ago and went straight into high paying sheet metal, drafting, and mechanical jobs. I heard one administrator recently refer to it as “the NCLB dumping ground.” That is so sad for so many reasons

  24. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Benson needs to be returned to its former self where it was the best opportunity for students in PPS to pull themselves up out of poverty. It is a travesty what has happened. When you have a nationally recognized outstanding technological school and you defund it and change entrance requirements to weaken its standards those actions can only be seen for what they are — extreme disregard for anyone not in upper middle class schools.

  25. Comment from Zarwen:

    Actually, Steve, my suggestion was that they merge Marshall and Madison and then sell Marshall, but I was joking.

    Regardless of what gets merged, and where (and I think you are right, Steve, that they already have the plans drawn up), there will be a major redrawing of attendance zones. No way to avoid that.

    This brought to mind the current state of K-8 education these days. Before all the “reconfigurations,” there were a significant number of underenrolled elementary schools in town. Now we still have a number of underenrolled schools, but a new problem with overcrowded schools, thanks to new attendance boundaries that exacerbate the problem. Rose City Park is an excellent example: a new boundary was drawn along NE 57th Avenue, which has resulted in overcrowding at Alameda, Hollyrood-Fernwood, and Laurelhurst. Anyone who has ideas about transferring into any of those schools next year had better forget it; they don’t have room.

    My point is that the attendance zones were redrawn without any real consideration of what would happen at the receiving schools. Given the District’s track record, I would expect the same when they start rezoning for the high schools.

  26. Comment from Neisha:

    Steve, I went to the NE region facilities meeting this week and the consultant threw out the idea of replacing the Faubion K-8 on the Adams/Whitaker site.

    Also, PPS just released 2008-2009 transfer slots for high schools here:


    Not sure how this works with NCLB, but the slots are few.

  27. Comment from Neisha:

    Zarwen, you can add Irvington to that list too. It took a big chunk of the Laurelhurst catchment and is adding three grades. They’re kicking out the pre-K and ramping up class sizes to make space.

  28. Comment from Zarwen:

    Yes, I have heard that several schools in inner NE are dumping their preschool programs to make room for the middle school grades. And we all know about the problems with housing and funding full-day kindergarten, as well as the unacceptably large class sizes in kindergarten this year due to the “surprise” enrollment increase.

    So, if I follow Vicki Phillips’ (and the school board’s) line of reasoning, the way to improve education for grades 6-7-8 is to abandon the commitment to early childhood ed.

    Is anyone else having a problem with this one??

  29. Comment from Zarwen:


    Re Faubion: is Concordia trying to get the land? I heard at a Cully neighborhood meeting that they were going to buy part of the old Whitaker/Adams site already.

  30. Comment from Neisha:

    Zarwen, not sure, but I think I read something about Concordia wanting the land in the Hollywood Star. At the facilities meeting I chatted with someone from the Cully neighborhood association and he said they really wanted a school/community center combo on the land.

    Did anyone go to the North region meeting? The consultant also said that Faubion was technically part of the North Region, but that the Whitaker/Adams land is part of the NE Region. My guess is that means whatever they build there would likely be part of either the Grant or Madison clusters.

    Anyone else notice how much easier it is to move K-8s in and out of HS clusters than middle schools with elementary feeders? I need to look again, but I’m pretty sure the clusters that were not converted were Cleveland, Franklin, Lincoln and Wilson. All the rest have slightly easier boundary change potential.

  31. Comment from Neisha:

    Zarwen, I forgot to mention, the article I read (a while back) said that Concordia was looking at part of the land, but that PPS was keeping a portion of it for a potential future school and selling the rest. And, of course, Portland Parks owns most of the land to the north. A K-8 makes more sense in that case, because you would need to whole property for a high school.

  32. Comment from Zarwen:

    Neisha, I am sorry, but I am still not clear on this. I had heard at a Cully Neighborhood meeting that Concordia was going to buy the portion of the Whitaker/Adams site for their school/community center. So do they want the Faubion land too? What would they plan to put there? More dormitories? More parking?

    As far as the K-8 conversions go, you got most of it right, but Franklin is undergoing a partial conversion. Mt. Tabor Middle will stay open, but Kellogg closed, and so Creston and Arleta are in the midst of converting; and of course, Sunnyside was already K-8. Also, Skyline in Lincoln cluster is converting.

    But I never thought about how K-8 conversions would make it easier to change feeder patterns. Maybe this is why Jefferson and Madison have been completely robbed of middle schools. Brilliant observation!

  33. Comment from Neisha:

    Yeah, a K-8 is self-contained and can be moved by itself from one cluster to another.

    I too am confused by what’s happening with the Whitaker/Adams site. The only part that I’m clear on is that PPS kept some of it for a future school. Since they didn’t keep the whole thing, I can’t imagine that what they kept is big enough for a comprehensive high school.

    The only other thing I know is that the facilities consultant said at the NE Region meeting that Faubion (currently in the Jefferson cluster) could get a brand new school on the land and what did we think about that. Since we were all Grant/Madison cluster people I don’t think any of us had objections. And he said that he was telling us because the land is NE Region (presumably Grant/Madison) land. What I’m curious about is if N Region folks also heard about this at their meeting. I can’t imagine that they didn’t since that’s the meeting that Faubion parents would have attended.

  34. Comment from Neisha:

    Oh, and I see that at least one of my previous posts was ambiguous. The Cully neighborhood guy told me that he was there representing the neighborhood association because the neighborhood association really wanted a neighborhood school/community center on the land.

  35. Comment from Neisha:

    OK, sorry for a zillion posts. Another thought on the K-8 conversions as relates to HS boundaries, Alameda/Beaumont are sort of a K-8 since Alameda is now the only official feeder into Beaumont giving them the same catchment area. So, if you look at it that way, all of NE and most of North (except for the middle school in St. Johns) is K-8 land, making it pretty easy to change around boundaries.

  36. Comment from Zarwen:


    Thanks for the information. I checked the map: Faubion is DEFINITELY within the N region (Jefferson) land. You opined that these consultants would be forthcoming with the parents at the N meeting, but let’s ask: Steve, Nancy, were they?

    Also, a correction to an earlier post, which you already alluded to: the K-8 conversion in Roosevelt cluster was only partial. Sitton and James John have stayed as elementaries feeding to George. And this fall it came out that Rosa Parks was overcrowded at K-6(!), so it will also be scaled back to a K-5 feeding to George.

    In the old days, they would have gone to Portsmouth, which is only 1/4 of the distance away. But Portsmouth is also a K-8 now, having absorbed Clarendon, and does not have room for the Rosa Parks kids.

  37. Comment from Zarwen:

    And another correction (sorry for having to make so many!): the Marshall cluster conversion was also only partial. Lane and its feeders have been left untouched.

    This brings up a question: does anyone know the future of Woodstock and Atkinson? They used to feed to Kellogg, but Kellogg is no more. Will Woodstock feed to Sellwood or Lane from now on? Will Atkinson feed to Mt. Tabor?

  38. Comment from Neisha:

    I’ve got one too, I think Chief Joseph is still a K-5? But, what school does it feed into?

  39. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Jefferson Cluster has eight feeder schools: Beach, Chief Joseph, Faubion, Humboldt, King, Ockley Green, Vernon, Woodlawn.

  40. Comment from Steve:

    Chief Joseph is indeed K-5, with no room to grow, thanks to the short-sighted and rushed merger with Kenton and the long-term lease of the Kenton building to a private religious school.

    And since we no longer have a middle school in the Jefferson cluster, Chief Joseph does not feed anywhere, unless you count the 6-12 Young Men’sand Young Women’s Academies.

    (It used to feed into Ockley, until that school was converted to K-8.)

  41. Comment from Zarwen:

    There is info on the PPS website about Ockley that says the K-5 is a magnet program, but the middle school grades are a neighborhood program. Is any of that correct?

  42. Comment from Steve:

    Who the hell knows… I think for the purposes of enrollment data analysis, the K-5 at Ockley does not have an attendance area. And I assume since it was converted from a middle school to K-8 (instead of the other way around), it probably has retained more of the traditional middle school trappings than schools converted from K-5 to K-8 (like Beach) will ever get.

    Good luck getting a straight answer on any of this. It’s just another way PPS is hiding the true cost of “choice.”

  43. Comment from Neisha:

    What a mess. This is making my brain hurt. Back to lurking at Wacky Mommy’s.

  44. Comment from Zarwen:


    Your observation about Ockley and Beach is actually pretty widespread. At the “Meet the Superintendent” meeting back in Dec., something that came up was that the elementaries in transition were adding the upper grades in a self-contained manner, same as K-5. But the middle schools in transition were doing K-3 in the elementary style but sticking with a middle school model for grades 4-8. Something I have heard one parent call a “smush.” The FTE chart you posted also seems to show more “enrichment” FTE for the converted middles than the converted elementaries, no? Anyway, parents were confused by the inconsistency of two models and were looking for some leadership from district officials, who didn’t seem too anxious to provide any.

  45. Comment from Zarwen:

    I have another question about Jeff (and Roosevelt, and Marshall): how are students assigned to these “academies”? Is it through the lottery? Am I correct in understanding that families who live in those clusters are being forced into the lottery in 8th (or even 5th) grade? If so, what happens if they refuse to participate??

  46. Comment from Zarwen:

    I did some checking and found out that my info on Ockley Green is correct. As they did before Hurricane Vicki blew through, the children articulate from Chief Joe to Ockley (as a neighborhood program) and then on to Jeff. The only difference is that they are sharing their middle school with a K-5 magnet program, since enrollment tanked when all of Ockley’s other feeders converted to K-8.

  47. Comment from H:

    The decision to make Ockley Green a K-8 MAGNET school came before the decision to make Ockley’s feeder schools K-8. In 2005, at the same time that Vicki first proposed making Jeff 7-12 (which resulted in community out cry, and the formation of Vicki’s “community design team,”), she got the board to close Kenton, Applegate and Whitaker, convert almost all the Jeff feeder schools to K-6, move the Meek attendance area into the Tubman/Jeff cluster, and the Boise-Eliot attendance area into Beaumont/Grant. The following year in 2006, the board approved Vicki’s “design team proposal” to reorganize Jefferson into 4 academies, (2 of which would be for grades 6-12th after all), close Tubman middle school, and continue growing the Jefferson guinea pig feeder schools from K-6 to K-8, at least the ones that were big enough. She tried closing Humboldt, which isn’t big enough to be a K-8, and behind the scenes she also tried to get the design team members to lobby for closing Chief Joe instead of Humboldt.

    The OG k-8 magnet school plan couldn’t really work (shocking, I know, that Vicki’s plan was well-thought out) because Chief Joe isn’t big enough to accomodate K-8, especially after the merger with Kenton) so their 6-8th graders needed a place to go. PPS couldn’t force them into a K-8 magnet school for the middle grades, and they couldn’t send them to another middle school because Vicki also closed the Jeff cluster’s other two middle schools (Tubman and Whitaker). So they had to keep Ockley Green 6-8 a neighborhood program, with a K-5 magnet attached.

  48. Comment from Mary:

    Zarwen, Atkinson now feeds to Hosford. Not %100 sure about Woodstock but I think the Mandarin program feeds to Hosford and maybe the neighborhood kids too? There are more Mandarin than neighborhood kids. Does Grout feed to Hosford too?

  49. Comment from Zarwen:


    Grout, Abernethy and Buckman all feed to Hosford (as they have in the past). Are you sure that ALL of Atkinson feeds to Hosford now? Originally it was just the Spanish immersion kids. If they have the all the Atkinson kids and the Chinese immersion kids (and I am certain you are correct on that part) then I wonder if they have room for Woodstock neighborhood too? Not to mention the geographical idiocy when Woodstock is so much closer to Lane, and this year gave up a portion of their attendance area to Lewis.

    Either way, I have heard from a parent that Hosford is packed to the gills. All of this is a direct result of closing Kellogg. What a mess.

  50. Comment from Zarwen:


    I did some checking on the PPS website. You were right about Woodstock but not Atkinson. The Atkinson Spanish immersion goes to Hosford, but the neighborhood kids feed to Mt. Tabor, as I had suspected.

    Still pretty stupid re: Woodstock in view of the current crowding at Hosford.

  51. Comment from Neisha:

    Wow, that’s really confusing. Doesn’t Hosford feed into Cleveland and Mt. Tabor into Franklin? So, some of the Atkinson kids go to Cleveland and some to Franklin? Or am I completely wrong about this?

    Also, didn’t they start a world language program at Franklin? And if that’s the case, wouldn’t we want all the kids in the immersion programs to feed into Franklin and not the slightly-more-overcrowded Cleveland?

    We have the opposite issue in NE where Beaumont is the only middle school, but with only one remaining feeder and competition from nearby DaVinci. So, Beaumont is struggling to fill its building while all the other schools in the Grant cluster are packed full.

  52. Comment from Zarwen:


    You are mostly correct, but Hosford actually feeds to both Cleveland and Franklin, because the Woodstock neighborhood kids now are assigned to Hosford and then back to Franklin, as their high school assignment did not change even though their middle school is in a different cluster. I am assuming this strange feeder pattern was put in place because bus service to Hosford was already established for the Chinese immersion kids; neither Hosford nor Mt. Tabor is close to Woodstock at all. Lastly, the Japanese Immersion portion of Mt. Tabor feeds to Grant, not Franklin.

    In view of the World Languages Program that you mentioned, it would seem to make sense to relocate the Japanese program from Grant to Franklin, and the Spanish and Chinese programs from Cleveland to Franklin, especially as Atkinson, Woodstock, Richmond and Mt. Tabor are in the Franklin cluster anyway. Would help balance the enrollment among those three high schools as well.

    With all this confusion, wouldn’t it just have been simpler to keep Kellogg open??? Or at least assign Woodstock to Lane, which is only half the distance away and has been losing enrollment steadily?

    I live in Grant cluster, so I was aware that Beaumont is the last remaining middle school there and I had been wondering how they would fill their building now that they are down to one feeder. I am waiting to see how the district will “solve” this one. With something really stupid, I am sure.

  53. Comment from Neisha:

    Gosh, it’s even more complicated in inner SE than I thought!

    I think it’s been really tough on Beaumont. In addition to losing Sabin and Boise-Eliot as official feeders, they have also lost Meek and RCP as unofficial feeders. Plus, they get stiff competition from Da Vinci.

    In the meantime, Alameda is bursting at the seams. There are over 700 kids right now. In 2005 and 2006 there was likely only room for sibling transfers in kindergarten and last year I understand they couldn’t take all siblings. It will be interesting to see if there will be any transfers at all this year. The first grade class has 125 kids and this year’s kindergarten class is larger than last year’s kindergarten class. Last year the foundation raised enough money for a fifth first grade teacher, but there isn’t enough space for five sections of second grade and the school still needs five sections of first grade. So, there may be four sections of around 35 kids in second grade next year? The principal has been creative with space before, so she may think of a way out of this.

    Since Alameda needs space and Beaumont has space, the principals have been talking to the district about merging the schools into a mega K-8 and moving the fifth grade to Beaumont. Last I heard, the district wants to see how the rest of the K-8 rollout works and there will be no potential changes to Alameda or Beaumont until 2010 at the earliest.

  54. Comment from Neisha:

    Steve, I apologize for continuing this conversation here.

    Zarwen, I just looked at the “Transfer Slots and Applicants” document for 2006-2007 and Beaumont’s applicants still exceeded slots 6th, 7th and 8th. So, I guess they are still doing OK. They had 75 slots at 6th grade and 93 applicants.

  55. Comment from Neisha:

    Oops! I meant 2007-2008.

  56. Comment from Zarwen:


    Just FYI, PPS reports Alameda’s enrollment at 697, 199 of whom are from “OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS.” Although, I am unclear on what they consider “other neighborhoods” now that they have had to absorb part of RCP’s former catchment area.

    Nevertheless, it seems that they could solve their problem easily enough by just stopping or limiting the in-transfers! Same with Hollyrood-Fernwood and Laurelhurst.

    This may be a good thing for neighborhood schools in the long run, or it may just send more folks to magnets, charters, private and home schools. I expect the latter, based on anecdotal information I have heard about families who have tried to transfer OUT of overcrowded “neighborhood schools” into closer schools with more room, and been refused. Dealing with that kind of bureaucracy pisses people off and then they vote with their feet. PPS has lost literally hundreds of families because of it; probably a couple of schools’ worth!

  57. Comment from Neisha:

    Zarwen: You’re absolutely right wrt upper grades in Grant cluster schools, they used to take loads of transfers. But, according to this PPS link, over the past couple of years transfer slots have pretty much dried up at the kindergarten level and schools are still bursting at the seams:


    Last year Alameda took 8 kindergarten transfers, Hollyrood-Fernwood took 5, Irvington took 1, and Laurehurst took 3. (I’m guessing those were all sibling transfers.) And all those schools still had large kindergarten classes. I think it’s just that enrollment is up in the earlier grades.

  58. Comment from Neisha:

    Now, compare that with 2004-2005 in which Alameda took 70 kindergarten transfers, Irvington took 51, and Laurelhurst took 26. (Hollyrood only took 3, but they have always had space issues.) I

    Interesting, eh?

  59. Comment from Zarwen:

    No wonder the situation had gotten out of control. 70 kindergarten transfers is inexcusable. That is 3 full classes! Or 51 (= 2 classes), or 26 (= 1 class).

    But the reason they are still “bursting at the seams” is that those children are still there, having progressed to the upper grades now. The reason for higher enrollment in the younger grades is that their catchment areas have increased and they cannot turn away anyone from the new catchment area. So now they are down to Hobson’s choice regarding any more in-transfers.

    Neisha, if you (or anyone else) wishes to continue this dialog, perhaps we should do it at Steve’s new blog. I could meet you on the Grant cluster thread or in the “Open Lounge.”

  60. Comment from Neisha:

    Exactly! (On all your points.) Let’s move over to the new forum.