New school for the Pearl, no school for everyone else

Karol Collymore

When I saw The Oregonian this morning, I was a little more than irritated."Portland board approves lease for Pearl District satellite school in split vote." I rolled my eyes and stomped off to my office.

Just the hour before on OPB's Morning Edition, I heard that Portland Public Schools might close early, teachers may go unpaid while other staff collects regular checks, and kids worried that budget cuts would cancel some of their favorite elective classes.  These kids have already missed a chunk of time from Snowpocalypse and now we want to snatch up eight days from them. 

Throughout this town, we let kids enter lotteries so their kids can go to schools considered better than the ones their neighborhoods offer, therefore limiting funds to those schools that children would have otherwise brought in to share. We watch as elementary schools close and cram K through 5's into already crowded middle schools under the guise of that being better for all the kids involved. And now, the Pearl residents don't want their little ones to cram into one of the best elementary schools in town - Chapman - so PPS will build a satellite school to accomdate them.

My conclusion is that kids who may attend this new Pearl school will have parents that can fundraise to sustain it's needs so PPS will front the money to build it.  The rest of the schools who don't have that parent power, guess what?  You are on your own.   

I don't have any children, but I do have a dog in this fight.  How do we expect the next generation to continue to grow and improve our state if we can't educate them?  How do we entice people to move here if we can't educate their children?  What are we saying to people of color and low income folks - those who predominately attend schools that get left behind - when we'll build a school in the Pearl but not hear their pleas to fix closed schools that are now suffering overwhelming blight?

There is a school board election coming soon.  Please pay attention, even if you don't have a kid. 

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I'll say the same thing I said on Bojack (shudder):

    what does a 300K a year commitment, beginning in 2011, have to do with a 10m deficit in 2009? One cannot solve the other, certainly, even if the money were being paid THIS year.

    Secondly, is it not true that the Pearl has no elementary schools, because it never used to be a residential area? Is it not true that children in that area continue to climb--and what might be holding that number back is a lack of facilities to accomodate them?

    Leasing a school space seems like a reasonable (and much cheaper than building) idea to me. Why is it wrong?

  • (Show?)

    So for years now, numerous progressives rail about development in the Pearl and South Waterfront because it doesn't address needs of families in those areas, and so educating kids in that area, who will be able to sustain the funding for a new school is a bad thing?

    You are totally off-the-rails.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: torridjoe | Feb 24, 2009 9:54:48 PM Leasing a school space seems like a reasonable (and much cheaper than building) idea to me. Why is it wrong?

    Beats the hell out of me where Collymore pulls this drek from.

    I agree with you Mark. I never thought I would read an alleged "progressive" rail against cost-effective schools as an alternative to putting more kids into already over-stretched schools elsewhere in the city. I am greatly underwhelmed by the non-think Collymore pushes in this.

  • (Show?)

    Ok buddy, easy on the name calling. It's actually hurtful and I'm a human being. While you, nameless wonder, hide under a silly name and I put my face on what I say.

    I'm trying to call attention to the clear choice of use of resources - 300k - in the Pearl versus other areas of town where the schools could use a new school lease, some upgrades to currently struggling buildings and bulging schools or other ideas. Introducing discussion is fair, not "non-think."

    While you may call my opinions "drek," I think I do have some valid points worthy of conversation.

  • (Show?)

    I certainly meant no disrespect Karol, you know that. But I do want you to make a better case why this is not a good way to use limited resources in this case.

  • dagnola (unverified)
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    Chapman school is 16 blocks away from the Pearl. Easy ride, integrated school (somewhat),lovely facility, opportunity to get to know your neighbors who live in and around Wallace Park, bring your dog, play soccer, save money, ward away criticism during a sensitive economic time, 300K think ahead.

  • (Show?)

    TJ, I know YOU didn't. My point is, again, why do we spend 1.5 million for a satellite in the Pearl district and not the same 1.5 on the other issues confronting schools in the not-so-fancy areas of town? There are schools that are MORE overcrowded, LESS accessible and more in need than Chapman or the Pearl.

    I don't think any child deserves less whether in the Pearl or in St. Johns. My point is if we can't give all equally, than what are we doing and what are we reinforcing to our children? By equally, I mean, we tell kids in dilapidated schools or schools with less books, or schools with no art or PE, sorry no can do. And this is reinforced year after year that their school can't afford it. Kids move schools in these areas which mean still less and less money. Then parents of these kids see better schools is nicer neighborhoods and wonder why. I think it's a fair point of discussion.

    On outside appearances, it seems areas with more affluence get more attention than some of our schools that just want a roof replaced or a play structure their parents and neighborhoods don't have to fundraise to get. As always, I'm open to being wrong, but I'm not open to being insulted for proposing a topic.

  • (Show?)

    While I think TJ makes a good point, this doesn't seem the most prudent decision PPS could have made given the rather extreme economic difficulties facing us.

    Set aside the (IMO) valid points Karol raises about integration and crumbling/closed schools in poorer areas... Wasn't one of our chief criticism of Bush that he never asked us to share the burden? Is it really asking to much to ask Pearl parents to make the very modest sacrifice of bussing their kids to existing schools?

    Sure, $300K won't fix a $10 million problem. But it will make a dent, whereas $0 won't even make a dent in a $10 million problem.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks for the elucidated answer, K. My response would be that a) the problem here isn't one of overcrowding so much as distance; 26th and Quimby is nowhere NEAR the Pearl, and b) a lease rather than construction option seems readily available, which I would think is not something true just anywhere.

    The fact is that the Pearl doesn't have a school, and there are kids starting to live in that area. Without a neighborhood elementary, that would make the Pearl the place that doesn't have what almost every other neighborhood has. And when schools have closed for lack of students elsewhere, I can't imagine the projections are for the number of kids to increase in the near term as it appears true in the Pearl.

    It's an area that wasn't residential before, and is now. It needs a place nearby for school, and 300K a year lease sounds like a much better short term deal than building a new school, which is fiscally impossible pretty much anywhere right now.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Karol | Feb 24, 2009 10:10:13 PM Ok buddy,
    I am not your "buddy".
    easy on the name calling.
    I didn't call you names I called you post drek and non-think, and stand by it. So spare us the faux martyrdom.
    It's actually hurtful and I'm a human being.
    First, grow some skin and second, nobody thinks your not a human being without feelings. But guess what your post is ill-conceived at best.
    While you, nameless wonder, hide under a silly name and I put my face on what I say.
    LOL, ok, so you are about the only person on BlueOregon who doesn't know my real name is Mitch Gore and I have always used this screen name.
    I'm trying to call attention to the clear choice of use of resources - 300k - in the Pearl versus other areas of town where the schools could use a new school lease, some upgrades to currently struggling buildings and bulging schools or other ideas. Introducing discussion is fair, not "non-think."
    So the kids without a school near them (i.e. kids in the Pearl) get to schlep across town to attend a school in a part of town where there already is one? That pencils out for you?
    While you may call my opinions "drek," I think I do have some valid points worthy of conversation.

    And I think they are ill-thought out "ideas" at best, and in this conversation I am expressing my opinion of them.

  • PPS parent (unverified)
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    Thank you, Karol Collymore. You are exactly right!

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: PPS parent | Feb 24, 2009 11:45:57 PM

    So you are volunteering your kid to have to travel some 25 blocks to another part of town to go to their elementary school?

    Or that's just for the other guy right?

    So you are an advocate of more vehicular traffic and increasing carbon footprint?

    So you are against people in affordable housing having access to an elementary school in their neighborhood?

  • edison (unverified)
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    So, lestatdelc, who crapped in your Wheaties™ this morning? Karol's discussion points are clear: Is the lease idea a good one or not? And what about citizen perceptions? Your vitriol, while not unusual and certainly not always off-base, is, at least in this instance (IMO) ... hmmm, how shall I put it? How about 'off-the-rails'?

  • Steve (unverified)
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    WHy don't you see it for what it is? A builder bailout.

    We have 10's of thousands of empty sqft in the Pearl and NW Portland and we happen to select this one buidling that is not even done at $300K/yr for 14K/sqft = $22/sqft/yr. At the very least they could've easily swung a lot better deal, if they couldn't use existing buildings.

  • Roy McAvoy (unverified)
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    OK, even if they are able to open an elementary school in the Pearl, where will the children park their little Beamers?

  • Richard (unverified)
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    "I never thought I would read an alleged "progressive" rail against cost-effective schools as an alternative to putting more kids into already over-stretched schools elsewhere in the city."

    Huh?

    Charter schools are cost effective and there is already one in the Pearl.

    Now we all know progressives "progressive" rail against charter schools.

    Progressives in Salem are currently railing against the successful Connections Academy virtual charter school which has 2600 students enrolled online from around the state. This very green and sustainable public school is serving many Oregon students and families and deserves the full support of all progressives.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks for the discussion, Karol. My 1st grader might have up to 31 kids in his class next year -- yikes! When I volunteer in his classroom now, with 26, it's chaos. For some kids, their needs aren't even being close to being met. I can't imagine even more kids.

    Thing is, as a parent, I wouldn't even want the option being floated. I totally value the stability of having my son in a school I'm pretty darn sure won't go away. Leased building? When Chapman is nearby? No thanks....

    And as for Mitch Gore...whoever you are...your nastiness toward the beautiful Karol is just creepy...funny if you think it reflects well upon you...

  • (Show?)

    Not having an elementary school in a neighborhood is nothing new in Portland. PPS has been closing neighborhood schools for years, meaning many kids have to be bussed a lot further than 16-25 blocks. Heck, we walk between 4-5 blocks to get to our elementary school and a number of kids are bussed in from the 8-12 block area - and we still have neighborhood schools out here.

    It seems that as of late, neighborhood schools keep getting pulled away from lower income areas - because PPS says it doesn't have the money for them - but then they can add ones like this one. I have to say if I was a parent in PPS, I'd be mad too. Just one of the many reasons I'm so very glad to be in Gresham.

  • (Show?)

    Mitch Gore, I really don't mind how thin my skin seems to be to you. Sure it makes me kinda sensitive, easy to cry and the like, but it also makes me sensitive to others. That's a quality you seem to be lacking.

    But back to the point - I'm not interested in ANY kid not having a neighborhood school and there are OTHER schools all over town that have wished for the same accessibility. It seems convienent to me that the Pearl seems to have their wish come true while other schools still sit and wait.

    PS: Thanks Kristin!

  • (Show?)

    It seems to me that behind Karol's questions is a broader one: how is it that we can subsidize a major development project like the Pearl without having planned for the most basic kinds of long term costs associated with building a new residential neighborhood? Did no one expect that, over time, there'd be a need for a school? If not, why not? If so, how are development costs assessed and allocated equitably, so that it's not a zero-sum game, with resources necessary to maintain and improve existing schools in less affluent areas short-changed?

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    I don't have any particular opinion about the Pearl District school idea, but Karol's remarks about the squeaky wheel getting the grease are absolutely bang-on. I've seen school-closure decisions by PPS dictated by which parents have the time and resources to organize and lobby, and guess what? The more affluent the neighborhood, the more time and resources the parents have.

    Nonetheless, one thing is that people have to be very careful not to attack the Pearl District school district as an exercise in class resentment. The idiotic remark by McAvoy ("even if they are able to open an elementary school in the Pearl, where will the children park their little Beamers?") is a case in point. I think we have quite enough class resentment flying around already, thanks very much.

    Back to Karol's comments: she mentions the business of the school-transfer "lottery". This was instituted years ago by PPS as an enticement for parents, as a way to try to keep parents from putting their kids in private schools instead of public schools. From that perspective, it has been very successful, but there's a downside to the transfer policy that Karol alludes to.

    Another thing is, Karol--aren't non-white and non-affluent families taking advantage of the PPS transfer option? I live 5 blocks from Grant High School, and I guarantee you that the demographics of the student body are not very representative of the demographics of this part of NE Portland. In particular, there are hundreds of kids at Grant whose neighborhood HS is in fact Jefferson. Every day, these kids--largely African American--walk past my home between school and the bus stop on NE 42nd.

    Finally, per Richard's comment about Connections Academy, this is a resource for home-schoolers. I realize Richard is a troll--at least he's a polite one--but no, not all pregressives rail against charter schools. This is a complex issue obviously, but I think we all know that the charter-school movement too often has become cover for union-busting, hence the common kneejerk opposition to charter schools.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Karol, thanks for the discussion. Mr. Gore, through his hair-trigger vitriol, has proven his irrelevance.

    I think this is a tough call. TJ's point that the $300k starting in 2011 isn't going to make much of a difference to the $10 million shortfall in 2009. But, I suspect the shortfall will be bad in 2011 as well, and we may have to put together lots of $300k cuts to bridge the gap.

    On the other hand, just because we're in a severe recession doesn't mean we shouldn't plan for the future. The big question: should the Pearl have a school at all? Some of the comments seem to reflect the view that "Pearl residents are rich, screw them." But I think most of us would support a school in the Pearl if there are enough kids to fill it, right? The more kids go to public school, the better off the district is as a whole.

    There's a chicken and egg issue here as well: do we need a school in order to keep/attract families to downtown, or do we wait for the demand to appear before figuring out how to address it?

  • (Show?)

    My response would be that a) the problem here isn't one of overcrowding so much as distance; 26th and Quimby is nowhere NEAR the Pearl...

    How much farther do the school buses in Prineville or Gaston or Cave Junction? I'll bet you a steak dinner that administrators in each of those school districts would be drooling at the thought of how much money they could save not having to bus further away than the distances we're talking about here.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Richard | Feb 25, 2009 8:04:25 AM Charter schools are cost effective and there is already one in the Pearl.

    The charter school in the area already has a 150 student waiting list.

  • PPS Parent (unverified)
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    lestatdelc asked: "So you are volunteering your kid to have to travel some 25 blocks to another part of town to go to their elementary school?

    Or that's just for the other guy right?

    So you are an advocate of more vehicular traffic and increasing carbon footprint?

    So you are against people in affordable housing having access to an elementary school in their neighborhood?"

    I am all for reducing carbon emissions, providing equal treatment for PPS families, and students being able to walk to school. I am opposed to PPS closing schools in lower income neighborhoods that currently have the demographics to support a school, and making plans to spend over a million dollars to ensure that possible future students in the Pearl district get a school they can walk to in 2 years. The fact that the school budget outlook (and housing market) is so uncertain for the next few years, makes the Pearl District lease agreement even more baffling.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Karol | Feb 25, 2009 8:57:34 AM I'm not interested in ANY kid not having a neighborhood school

    Except in the Pearl it seems.

    and there are OTHER schools all over town that have wished for the same accessibility.

    And this is precisely why I call your post non-think. The rest of Portland already has more accessibility to school in their neighborhood than those in the Pearl. If you want to argue that building a school in the Pearl vs. leasing, or that they could have sought a better term on the lease, fine. But that is not what you are arguing. Your position (as far as can be discerned from this piece by you) is that students in the Pearl, even those in affordable housing don't get a school in their neighborhood because schools in other neighborhoods need help.

    So what is your solution for getting a school in the Pearl neighborhood?

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 25, 2009 10:34:31 AM How much farther do the school buses in Prineville or Gaston or Cave Junction?

    That is the physics of living in a dispersed rural community instead of a dense urban one. So because people live in non-dense rural areas which then necessitates transportation costs, kids in dense urban areas don't get a school because they won't have to spend on transportation?

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Dan Petegorsky | Feb 25, 2009 9:06:10 AM It seems to me that behind Karol's questions is a broader one: how is it that we can subsidize a major development project like the Pearl without having planned for the most basic kinds of long term costs associated with building a new residential neighborhood?

    There was planning done for a school in the Pearl district. It was cut from the plan for cost reasons I believe (though I don't recall the particulars).

  • n/ne mama (unverified)
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    Due to school closures in N/NE my kid is assigned to a "neighborhood" elementary school (Woodlawn) that is further from our house than the Pearl District kids would have to travel to their existing school in NW. And our so-called neighborhood school is now on the other side of a state highway decreasing opportunities for walking to school. Unlike the Pearl District, our neighborhood already has a significant amount of affordable housing.

    Also, when Superintendent Phillips proposed closing Applegate and merging it with Woodlawn the feds told her that the move would increase racial segregation and isolation in PPS. She did it anyway, increasing school segregation and losing a huge amount of grant money that was supposed to benefit low income and minority kids in N/NE.

    Furthermore, there are now more PPS k-8 students living in Woodlawn's attendence than can fit into the school.

    849 students (k-8) live within Woodlawn's boundaries 543 students is maximum capacity for the building according to PPS's own data

    Only 44% of the PPS students in the Woodlawn neighborhood attend Woodlawn. The other 56% tranfer to PPS schools in other neighborhoods and PPS has done NOTHING to work with parents to keep those students in their neighborhood school.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Miles | Feb 25, 2009 9:29:42 AM Some of the comments seem to reflect the view that "Pearl residents are rich, screw them." But I think most of us would support a school in the Pearl if there are enough kids to fill it, right? The more kids go to public school, the better off the district is as a whole.

    Which is precisely the point where my "vitriol" as you put it comes from directed at the timbre of this post by Ms. Collymore. But heaven forbid someone upset the apple car by calling bullshit on precisely the point which you touch on.

    Guess it's back to eating my pee soaked Wheaties in irrelevance. (wry grin)

  • JS (unverified)
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    For more info about discriminatory PPS policies throughout the Portland Public school district read the Jefferson PTSA resolution that was submitted to the city council and school board last year. http://www.neighborhoodschoolsalliance.org/node/470

    The district and city didn't even respond to the PTSA. Compare the response to the Jefferson area parents to the response that Pearl District parents get from the city and the district. It is sickening.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: n/ne mama | Feb 25, 2009 11:40:09 AM

    Not sure where you get those facts, but Woodlawn Elementary has a student enrollment of 450 students. What school closed and had it students assigned to Woodlawn whose travel is further than 25 block?

    There are 4 other elementary schools less than 25 blocks from Woodlawn (PDF map). Your facts don't seem to hold up. So unless I am missing something care to back up your assertions?

  • N (unverified)
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    I agree with the comments about PPS leaders catering to a certain demographic of families while ignoring and patronizing lower income and minority families. The new Pearl District school isn't the only current example.

    The Portland Tribune has an article about wealthy moms seeking foreign language classes for their elementary school students that even high school students in the poorer parts of town can't take.

    A survey of Jefferson students by a PTA parent in Spring 2007 showed that there was a very strong demand for French courses at Jefferson. Spanish is still the ONLY language offered at Jeff, and there is no language immersion program even though the Beach Spanish Immersion program is loacated in the Jefferson neighborhood. High schools in SE and SW offer MULTIPLE language classes and immersion programs.

    PPS is currently planning the future of Portland's high schools, but isn't getting meaningful input from students about parents about what they would like for their school. A PPS survey is posted on www.pps.k12.or.us, but isn't being widely distributed to high school students, at least not in some parts of town.

    Why do 2 wealthy moms and a few Pearl District parents get to work with the district to create special schools for their preschool aged kids, when the school district ignores requests for better programs from hundreds of students and parents in north, northeast and outer southeast?

  • (Show?)

    So because people live in non-dense rural areas which then necessitates transportation costs, kids in dense urban areas don't get a school because they won't have to spend on transportation?

    So... you agree that distance is a weak argument.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 25, 2009 12:06:28 PM So... you agree that distance is a weak argument

    No, I am arguing that you are comparing apples to oranges. There is no choice in the matter in dispersed rural communities (the distances mean buses). But that is not the same situation in dense urban communities. Are you suggesting that more busing instead of walking is better for traffic, environment and cost?

  • (Show?)

    No, I am arguing that you are comparing apples to oranges.

    Ah... got it. Separate but equal.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: N | Feb 25, 2009 11:57:30 AM Why do 2 wealthy moms and a few Pearl District parents...

    More mindless nonsense. This project includes parents in affordable housing, not just two moms and a handful of wealthy. This is exactly the sort of reactionary drek Ms. Collymore is looking for with this piece with the frmaing and headline, and precisely why it is an embarrassment to me as a progressive and my "vitriol" is present.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 25, 2009 12:23:21 PM No, I am arguing that you are comparing apples to oranges. Ah... got it. Separate but equal.

    No, it is called physics. Dispersed population vs. dense population.

  • gl (unverified)
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    anybody notice that the same people keep posting very blow hardy comments for every post on this blog?

  • (Show?)

    No, it is called physics. Dispersed population vs. dense population.

    Okay... So you are saying that more busing instead of walking is better for the environment but only in a dispersed population?

  • n/ne mama (unverified)
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    lestatdelc, Applegate was closed and merged with Woodlawn. (Kenton was also closed and merged with Chief Joseph, which is also overcrowded and can't grow to k-8 so 6-8th graders from Chief Joe are assigned to Ockley Green k-8 for middle school.)

    The Chapman attendance area (including the Pearl District) has 506 PPS students, http://www.pps.k12.or.us/schools-c/profiles/enrollment/enroll_out.php?rpt=298 (Look in section 3 of the school profile "Neighborhood PPS student population"

    The Woodlawn attendance area has 849 PPS students, http://www.pps.k12.or.us/schools-c/profiles/enrollment/enroll_out.php?rpt=361

    And there are many more kids in strollers living in the Applegate/Woodlawn neighborhood than in the Pearl District so the population difference will only increase when preschool age kids enter school.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 25, 2009 12:35:55 PM So you are saying that more busing instead of walking is better for the environment but only in a dispersed population?

    No, I am saying that walking in urban areas is better than busing in urban areas. Rural areas have no choice because they are dispersed population. No matter where you site a school in dispersed population rural community, it will be far away for other students and so you have to bus a majority of the student (unless you are advocating kids walk for miles in rural communities).

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Classism is alive and well in Stumptown.

  • n/ne mama (unverified)
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    lestatdelc, The Pearl District project does not include involvement of affordable housing parents. The affordable housing building isn't even open yet. The city and PPS are working with the existing wealthy families in the Pearl, and a developer of a proposed affordable housing building who would lease space in his building to the district.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: n/ne mama | Feb 25, 2009 12:44:20 PM</blockqoute> Guess you shouldn't have provided the links you did. From your own link for Woodlawn:
    Enrollment by year 2004: 409 2005: 531 2006: 450 2007: 424 2008: 462

    Also from your linked PDF on Woodland:

    School Budget Per Student: $5574

    And we are talking $1.5 million over 5 years, for somewhere between 50-100 students for this proposed school. That pencils out to $4000 per student based on 75 students (the median).

    So the proposed school is bad for Portland how exactly?

    FYI, Woodlawn is less than half the distance from where Applegate was compared to the distance between the nearest elementary school in NW to the Pearl.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: n/ne mama | Feb 25, 2009 12:53:59 PM The Pearl District project does not include involvement of affordable housing parents.

    From the very article that Ms. Collymore linked to:

    The apartment complex will be largely affordable housing, renting three-bedroom apartments for about $900. City and school officials said it is important to create an economically diverse area that all families can access.
  • j (unverified)
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    Chapman and Emerson are not the only PPS schools in NW Portland.

    The proposed Pearl District school would be located at the north end of the Pearl District. MLC is a PPS magnet school and is located just as close, if not closer, for many Pearl District residents than the proposed leased school.

    Why aren't people talking about giving MLC a neighborhood attendance area including the Pearl District, using the Buckman Arts Magnet School as a model?

    Chapman has plenty of room for students in the neighborhood. Twenty percent of Chapman's students transfer in from other neighborhoods. But if Chapman does get too crowded in the future to accomodate its neighborhood students, part of its attendance area could be shifted to Ainsworth which doesn't have enough neighborhood students to fill the building. Ainsworth brings in 40% of its students from other parts of town.

    http://www.pps.k12.or.us/schools-c/map/ChapmanMap.pdf

  • n/ne mama (unverified)
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    lestatdelc, Name one "affordable housing parent" who is requesting a Pearl District school. They aren't involved. The parents calling for a school are wealthy Pearl District parents. The affordable housing building doesn't even exist yet.

  • (Show?)

    No matter where you site a school in dispersed population rural community, it will be far away for other students and so you have to bus a majority of the student

    But of course we're not talking about a school system consisting of "a (single) school."

    If I understand you correctly, you'd also be in favor of rural school districts spending exceedingly scarce resources on acquiring more facilities for the sole purpose of cutting down how far kids have to travel.

    Also, would I be correct in assuming that school kids in the Pearl are presently having to travel further than any other kids in the PPS and that for this reason they are rightly in line for a new facility now?

  • n/ne mama (unverified)
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    lestatdelc, You seem more interested in skewing data than you are in understanding it, and you also aren't reading other people's comments very closely.

    As I said before, enrollment figures for Woodlawn are completely different than the number of students who live in the neighborhood due to the huge number of neighborhood students who transfer to PPS schools in other neighborhoods.

    Your comparison of the per student budget at Woodlawn to the per student cost of leasing a Pearl District school is absolutely meaningless. The per student budget doesn't include building costs, and the Pearl lease figure doesn't include the cost of teachers and everything else.

    I see now that it is a waste of time to read or respond to your comments.

  • (Show?)

    "How much farther do the school buses in Prineville or Gaston or Cave Junction?"

    When PPS has to figure out the planning for Prineville, come on back. Until then, this seems an entirely irrelevant comment.

    As for the question on whether other preexisting vacant space exists in the Pearl--is it suitable for an elementary school without major renovation? My vaguely educated guess is...No.

    I'm receptive and believing of the idea that other neighborhoods no longer have their own elementary--but are those hoods simultaneously seeing increased numbers of elementary aged children? That's the combination of factors that would seem to make the Pearl different--how many areas of town are seeing MORE school age kids, instead of fewer?

    And while I don't know anything about the push by some parents to get foreign language into elementaries when some HS don't have them--foreign language is VASTLY more effective when taught in elementary rather than HS. Apparently the language-building skills kids at that age are still using for English, transfers neatly for other languages as well. Think of a Leap Pad, with different cartridges you can plug in. Same template, different content. :) In short, the brains of young school aged children are particularly well wired for language instruction.

  • (Show?)

    n/ne mama,

    Thanks for the great info...it's hard to argue cogently with a charging rhinocerous, but you do it nicely.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 25, 2009 1:16:46 PM If I understand you correctly, you'd also be in favor of rural school districts spending exceedingly scarce resources on acquiring more facilities for the sole purpose of cutting down how far kids have to travel.

    Not at all. I am not in favor of making urban school districts spend more money to bus students because rural areas are compelled to because of geography and population density.

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    Ah... so it's back to separate but equal. And we wonder why Oregon Republicans find such fertile political ground East of the Cascades...

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    Posted by: Kristin | Feb 25, 2009 2:32:42 PM n/ne mama, Thanks for the great info...it's hard to argue cogently with a charging rhinocerous, but you do it nicely.

    That some cryptic "RINO" reference or just can't stand the idea that other progressives like myself see this mindless populism undermining true progressive positions?

    Here we have an ostensible progressive writing an article that we not invest in making the inner core of Portland family friendly, not serious about reducing carbon footprint, not serious about bringing middle and upper income families into the PPS, because we hate that some wealthy families will have public schooling within 25 blocks of where they live. And we wonder why we have family flight to the suburbs, and into Vancouver?

    Yeah, reducing even further the head count in of students in public will really do wonders for Federal funding to the state. ANd reducing head-count of students in public school and the subsequent hit on funding that will result (because those dollars are formula based, based on head-count) will really help other schools and the problems in dwindling resources in the PPS... but this is a progressive argument?

    Thanks for doing Bob Tiernan's work for him (not the one who posts comments here, but the one heading up the Oregon GOP).

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    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 25, 2009 3:51:04 PM Ah... so it's back to separate but equal.

    Nonsense. It is not a separate but equal argument at all.

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    Mitch,

    You realize you're just driving people away from what may be a rationale point of view, right? You're not convincing when your arguments are so full of vitriol...

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    The parents calling for a school are wealthy Pearl District parents.

    So what. Since when does the wealth of a parent preclude them from having a say in the education of their children.

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    Oh noes... I haz vitriol.

    I have attacked weak arguments, not anyone (unlike some of the response to me I might add) because I dare to challenge the assumptions of this article in blunt terms. That is not me posting with bitterness and hatred (the definition of vitriol). It has been me posting my objections to flawed, non-progressive arguments and not backing down. There is a difference.

    There is nothing progressive about the arguments that Ms. Collymore is presenting here. And because I dare to call really bad, non-progressive arguments to the floor, it is "vitriol".

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    Vitriol is using personal insults and demeaning language to express an idea...no one will notice a diamond if it's buried in a pile of crap.

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    I certainly don't mind, Kristin. I'm mostly just having fun with Mitch.

    :-)

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    Nonsense. It is not a separate but equal argument at all.

    Sure it is. If PPS can, rightly in your view, spend scarce resources during the most severe economic recession in our lifetimes on more school facilities while others molder in disrepair and children in other less affluent parts of the PPS districts have to travel as far or further, then why shouldn't the Gaston or Cave Junction or Prineville School Districts spend equally scarce resources to open new facilities for the sole purpose of shortening the distance students within their district have to travel? The only reason you've offered is population density. Poppycock! What does that matter if the issue is how far kids have to travel during the most severe economic recession in our lifetime?

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    Posted by: Kristin | Feb 25, 2009 6:44:12 PM Vitriol is using personal insults and demeaning language to express an ide

    Have not given a single personal insult or demeaning language and I defy you to point to single example of either by me.

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    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 25, 2009 7:41:27 PM ...and children in other less affluent parts of the PPS districts have to travel as far or further...

    Except that that statement is not true. A student in the Pearl would have to travel further to get to a PPS elementary school than any other student in the district would have to.

    Poppycock!

    Be careful, you might be accused of vitriol by those who get the vapors if anyone disagrees and says so bluntly. (wry grin)

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    Well, Karol tried to point it out to you...you choose not to see...n/ne mama has given up on having a meaningful conversation with you ...someone pointed out that your tone perhaps resulted from a lack of a good breakfast...

    I'm just saying...if you're not trying to be persuasive, and you're just venting, then fine...but you're not swaying folks to your side.

  • Anne T (unverified)
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    Karol, Thank you for writing this. To those who think the school in the Pearl is a good idea, please read this (partial) list of PPS travesties below. Then stop telling the community that we should trust PPS on the Pearl District pilot program. Whitaker--and the promise to rebuild a middle school in NE The closure of Rose City Park and the crowding of surrounding schools Loss of curriculum offerings due to K-8 and Jefferson High "reforms" The overcrowded "green" Rosa Parks School The Ockley Green Arts Magnet The layoffs of skilled trade workers and custodians who MAINTAIN our buildings so that they don't fall into irreversible disrepair The huge payments to consultants like Magellan of Texas the continued promotion of the transfer system *PPS's and PSU's skewed population projections to justify school closures from 2002-2008 and the sudden reversal in the last two years to justify building new schools Many community members DO see the big picture and we don't trust PPS. We see that PPS continues to cater to the most economically privileged parents and ignore or patronize the rest of us.
    There are no words that can justify the continued racist inequity in PPS, and their policies that line the pockets of consultants, administrators, and developers instead of providing an excellent education to all our children. Anne Trudeau NE Portland

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
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    Even the suggestion of establishing a new school in the Pearl District reeks of a discriminatory double standard – one for this affluent elitist neighborhood and a different standard for working class neighborhoods. Consider for example the Rose City Park Neighborhood. Back in the 60’s, 70’s and into the 80’s it had three overcrowded schools. Even though all the school buildings exist and neighborhood enrollment can no longer justify three schools, but still can justify one school, today it has no public schools. Last year the icon Rose City Park School in the center of the neighborhood was closed. The students and classes of this highly accredited school were transferred and split between three schools that are each about 25 city blocks, more than a mile away from the Rose City Park School Building. That is coincidentally about the same distance Chapman School is from the Pearl District, an urban renewal neighborhood in Portland where a significant number of the housing units are tax abated and therefore contribute little or noting to funding the Portland Public School District.

    Therefore, before opening any new school in the Pearl District, the Portland Public School District needs to give back what has been taken away from the neighborhoods that pay their fair share of property taxes for schools, and reopen the icon facilities like the Rose City Park School.

  • Steve Rawley (unverified)
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    Just want to answer torridjoe's questions "what does a 300K a year commitment, beginning in 2011, have to do with a 10m deficit in 2009?" and "Why is it wrong?"; you can read more of my thoughts on PPS Equity.

    This is a speculative move, not a move to build for existing need. PPS is attempting to create need, to help mold the future of a neighborhood that will never be anything but a high-end white enclave. Meanwhile, the half of PPS that is not predominately white and middle class is looking at a budget that will, in all likelihood, once again demand disproportionate cuts from their neighborhoods, in addition to a shortened calendar this year.

    The poor in Portland have consistently borne the brunt of PPS school closures and program cuts, while the white, wealthy parts of town have maintained a reasonable level of education. If nothing else, this is a catastrophic failure of perception management by PPS.

    We do not have a middle school in our North Portland cluster, and my children's elementary school only goes to grade 5. Our neighborhood high school doesn’t have chemistry, physics, calculus, literature, a language other than Spanish, a single music class, or any college prep curriculum.

    Why invest to create need at a time when so many existing needs go unmet? You could argue that these are different pots of money, but you'd be ignoring the shameful history of PPS divesting from poor neighborhoods to prop up schools in the whiter parts of town.

  • Jon (unverified)
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    The affordable housing building isn't even open yet. The city and PPS are working with the existing wealthy families in the Pearl, and a developer of a proposed affordable housing building who would lease space in his building to the district.

    Classic, take 'affordable housing" space away to build a school for the rich kids. Only in Portland. And didnt the city just pass something to send property tax money from the Pearl to fund a school in SE?

  • Tess Fields (unverified)
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    My partner is a teacher and was forced to take a substantive paycut just a few years ago, and who was also, just last week, challenged by our Governor to work for free again.

    Furthermore, PPS has been closing neighborhood schools for the last 5 years. I live in one of those neighborhoods and guess what our parents are doing---driving their kids to the closest school which is typically housed in a dilapidated building with limited supplies, oversized classrooms and run by teachers who are being asked to work for free.

    Very few people in Portland get to "walk" to their school anymore.

    This is a ridiculous decision and a huge slap in the face for parents who live in neighborhoods that have been targeted for cuts, and for teachers who are repeatedly asked to take paycuts when in reality, they should be getting pay raises for their awesome, dedicated service.

  • gl (unverified)
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    "I dare to challenge the assumptions of this article in blunt terms..."

    Wow you are truly progressive and brave.

    Good day sir.

  • RichW (unverified)
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    What no one here has addressed so far is that PPS has supposedly put as its highest priority on the narrowing of the "achievement gap" between poor neighborhood schools and schools in middle/upperclass neighborhoods.

    I fail to see how this Pearl proposal addresses that priority and in fact might make that gap worse. Unless Pearl development includes some public housing like New Columbia, "affordable housing" is a misnomer for those families in the low-achievement group.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    The Portland Tribune has an article about wealthy moms seeking foreign language classes for their elementary school students that even high school students in the poorer parts of town can't take...Why do 2 wealthy moms and a few Pearl District parents get to work with the district to create special schools for their preschool aged kids, when the school district ignores requests for better programs from hundreds of students and parents in north, northeast and outer southeast?

    Good lord, talk about ignorance posturing. Most obviously, there was absolutely nothing in the Tribune article about the women's economic status. The article was about their interest in getting a French-language immersion program going. Is the implicit connection here that an interest in French as a second language is equivalent to being wealthy?

    Beyond that issue, why NOT more foreign languages in elementary school? It's universally known that acquiring a second language is vastly easier for kids than for adults.

  • Eric Cantona (unverified)
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    this is so much fun!!!

    it's like our US congress. each side deliberately acts like there is only one answer to the question, and the other side is ignorant/classist/rich/poor/stupid.

    there are fine points being made by most here, if the "other side" would care to listen. except for Kevin. he just appears to like poking things with a stick.

    grow up people. life is all about the gray areas.

  • Kija (unverified)
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    Karol,

    I am sorry. Someone forgot to send you the memo. Most people know that the Pearl gets whatever its little heart desires. Heck it even gets special Safeway signage. Sure kids around the rest of the city can ride bus 40 blocks to school, but the Pearl kids cannot possibly be asked to cross over into NW -

    It's not about resources. It's about the Pearl and it's special.

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    there are fine points being made by most here, if the "other side" would care to listen. except for Kevin. he just appears to like poking things with a stick.

    Guilty as charged. Although I prefer to look at it as playing Devil's Advocate. After TJ challenged Karol to defend her case, I thought it only reasonable to challenge his "side" to defend it's case too. I saw what I consider logical flaws in their argument and set about poking said flaws with sticks... just as you observed.

    Actually, I was sitting on the fence at first. But the more I poked a stick at the one side, the less logical their argument seemed to me to be in the context of the current fiscal crisis. If the economy were otherwise then I'd be back on the fence because I do think that Mark and Mitch made some reasonable points.

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    "This is a speculative move, not a move to build for existing need. PPS is attempting to create need, to help mold the future of a neighborhood that will never be anything but a high-end white enclave."

    You seem to be substituting your class/race warpaint for a substantiated argument. And I never said anything about "existing need;" the school wouldn't even open for two more years.

    The census data I have show that for tracts 50 and 51 (the two most eastern tracts above Burnside and east of 405):

    • in 1990 there were 21 and 7 children under the age of 10, for a total of 28.
    • in 2000, there were 58 and 31, for a total of 89--more than 300% increase for the decade.
    • Claritas estimated for 2007, 88 and 97 children under 10, totalling 185--more than doubled in 7 years.

    So there were nearly 200 kids under 10 two years ago, and the number appears to be rising.

    The question I'm trying to have answered is, which neighborhoods lost schools, that showed a projection of MORE children being in that neighborhood in the near future? If there aren't any hoods that have lost schools while their hood-eligible count looked to be going up, I don't see the comparison as apples to apples.

    I'll say it again: the Pearl was not a residential area before. It is now. The number of children there appears to be climbing, rather rapidly in fact. Why should those residents of the City of Portland not be served with an economical school option?

  • Wanna Pearl Necklace (unverified)
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    'll say it again: the Pearl was not a residential area before. It is now. The number of children there appears to be climbing, rather rapidly in fact. Why should those residents of the City of Portland not be served with an economical school option?

    Is this ever figured into the equation, that the ones that have to acquire the latest digs have to acquire a child? It's why real estate lies at the rotting heart of all capitalist enterprise.

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    RichW said:

    Unless Pearl development includes some public housing like New Columbia, "affordable housing" is a misnomer for those families in the low-achievement group.

    One thing that has me getting more and more frustrated as the years go by is the misuse of the phrase "affordable housing." Some seem to think that as long as someone can afford it, it must be affordable. $900 a month for a three bedroom apartment should not qualify as "affordable housing."

    Over the past few years, I've found that unless you've actually lived in the lower income levels in the past decade or so, you're a lot more likely to be out of touch with the realities of living in those income levels. Calling a $900 a month apartment affordable is one such example.

    You have to be making $40k+ to reasonably be able to afford one of those apartments. I should know, since that's about the cost of my own apartment - an apartment that is not considered "affordable housing," by the way. And that's with only one child in the house and no car expenses. That would increase as you add more family members and the expense of a car.

  • b (unverified)
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    "Posted by: Roy McAvoy | Feb 25, 2009 7:33:24 AM

    OK, even if they are able to open an elementary school in the Pearl, where will the children park their little Beamers?"

    Classist much? I hate to tell you but there are people who live in low-income housing in the Pearl and yes, they have children too.

    How wonderful that, to spite the wealthy, you'd screw over the kids that live in low-income housing.

    It may be true that wealthy parents want a school but that isn't to say that the low-income families in the area won't benefit.

    Our City Council (Randy L, etc - all faves on this site) thru the PDC, supported the idea of low-income housing in the Pearl through developments that ultimately landed us where we are now, with a overall, high end area with low-income sprinkled sparingly about. Where are they in this fight?

    If I'm a low-income mom living in the Pearl, working my rear off to make ends meet so that I can avoid living in an area that may have more crime, it might be nice to have a school close enough that my kid could walk (and isn't that what we Portlanders want to support, walkability?).

    I can see some valid arguments to the question of whether we should be building another school in these tough times but it's a little rough hearing them from people that don't, IMO, frequently have a lot of financial sense and so clearly seem to be fighting against another school because of the wealth issue.

    If it's about the evil rich, let's call it what it is and not try to pretend we're not biased against certain individuals simply because they may be fortunate in a monetary sense (remember, not everyone in the Pearl is). If it's not, then let's talk dollars and cents / sense and stop talking about Beemers and parents that might be able to fundraise.

  • Tom Therhorn (unverified)
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    I agree with this completely.

  • jfwells (unverified)
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    Posted by: lestatdelc | Feb 25, 2009 8:49:07 PM

    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 25, 2009 7:41:27 PM
    
    ...and children in other less affluent parts of the PPS districts have to travel as far or further...
    

    Except that that statement is not true. A student in the Pearl would have to travel further to get to a PPS elementary school than any other student in the district would have to.

    A student in the Pearl wouldn't even have to travel as far as other students that attend Chapman. The distance to Chapman is a losing argument.

  • kda (unverified)
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    For all the talk about "hurt feelings" and "I'm human" people here don't hesitate to dump on the Pearl. So I guess that Pearl residents aren't human? It's fair game to call them all kinds of names, or use all kinds of innuendo to slam them?

    The question about whether or not a school should be there is valid. I happen to think it should be there.

    But the way that so many of you trash the Pearl and thereby its residents is hypocrisy. It's no different than bojack and his readers.

  • gliqueple (unverified)
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