Portland School Size sign now

We, the undersigned residents of Portland, call upon the School Board and Superintendent Vicki Phillips to put a temporary halt on the Portland Public Schools (PPS) 400-600 school size policy for elementary school programs.

Both neighborhood schools and focus options are being forced to conform to a size requirement that often makes little sense in terms of the size or location of our school buildings, educational programs, enrollment area, or what many "customers" (parents) are looking for in a school. One size does not fit all.
Many parents are opting for charter and private schools specifically because of their small size. If the 400-600 "policy" is fully carried out, the only smaller school options in Portland will be charters and private schools. This will severely undermine PPS, as parents seeking a smaller school environment will go elsewhere.
Currently there are nearly 20 elementary schools in Portland below 400 in size, averaging about 320 students. What is the plan for each of these schools? How many will be closed?
Focus option programs, including Winterhaven and Creative Science School, are being told they must grow to 400-600 students. They are facing upheaval and uncertainty created by the size requirement. Will other focus option programs soon be thrown into similar disarray because they are not big enough?
Because no citywide, specific, long-range plan has been disclosed for bringing all schools into compliance with the 400-600 size requirement, no one knows where the axe will fall next. This uncertainty undermines both schools and neighborhoods.
Any short-term savings from closing, consolidating, and otherwise disrupting schools will only accelerate a downward spiral in enrollment, and at $7,000 per student, each family lost to poor decisions and instability further undermines PPS.
Requiring families to travel longer distances to larger schools also has a negative impact on our community: decreased ability for parents and community members to volunteer at schools; increased transportation costs; and increased pollution, fuel consumption, and traffic congestion.
Many children do well in larger learning environments; others do not. While excellent learning can certainly take place in 400-600 student schools, much research supports the short-term and long-term benefits of smaller learning environments.
The official justification for forcing schools to conform to a 400-600 size is that this will enable PPS to consistently provide smaller class sizes and extras like PE, art, and music. Theoretical economies of scale may be possible in a larger elementary school, but in fact are rarely achieved. In reality, the only thing that will make it possible for PPS to provide a high-quality program and smaller class sizes in every school is to restore adequate school funding from Salem.

The elected School Board must call a time-out on the 400-600 size policy. We need a full, public policy discussion of school size, and a long-term plan for stable, quality public schools in every neighborhood of this city.

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100 / 1000

Latest Signatures

  • 14 December 2015100. Steve K
    I support this petition
  • 10 December 201599. Matt C
    School/Neighborhood affiliation Rose City Park (the original one!) Role (parent, teacher, community member, etc.) parent Listen to the people!!
  • 06 December 201598. Adrienne Vance
    School/Neighborhood affiliation Opal School parent / Hillsdale resident Role (parent, teacher, community member, etc.) parent The small neighborhood school (Rieke) was a major appeal of the community when we moved. Otherwise, we would have just stayed at
  • 20 November 201597. Alesia P
    School/Neighborhood affiliation Rose City Park Role (parent, teacher, community member, etc.) Parent and concerned community member Decisions shouldn't be made strictly by looking at stats on paper. It's parent involvement and sense of community that bui
  • 18 November 201596. Carrie L
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  • 02 November 201595. Benjamin J
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  • 30 October 201594. Neil C
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  • 26 October 201593. Randall E
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  • 21 October 201592. Sally G
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  • 19 October 201591. Kristin R
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  • 10 October 201590. Mark N
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  • 05 October 201589. Chuck Andcarolk
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  • 10 September 201588. Irene M
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  • 09 August 201587. Stephanie P
    School/Neighborhood affiliation Hayhurst Role (parent, teacher, community member, etc.) Parent В
  • 27 July 201586. Terri B
    I support this petition
  • 16 June 201585. Susie J
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  • 11 June 201584. Lauren K
    I support this petition
  • 21 May 201583. Jon J
    School/Neighborhood affiliation Rieke/Hillsdale Role (parent, teacher, community member, etc.) Parent В
  • 06 May 201582. Marc N
    I support this petition
  • 21 April 201581. John D
    School/Neighborhood affiliation Hayhurst Role (parent, teacher, community member, etc.) parent we need an advocate for our schools, not an out of state hatchet woman
  • 20 April 201580. Kathy H
    School/Neighborhood affiliation Maplewood, Robert Gray, Wilson Role (parent, teacher, community member, etc.) Parent В
  • 12 April 201579. Cindy Y
    I support this petition
  • 08 April 201578. Mary K
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  • 28 March 201577. Kathleen L
    School/Neighborhood affiliation Rose City Park Role (parent, teacher, community member, etc.) Parent Please think about our children in this process!!!!
  • 27 January 201576. Mary K
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  • 21 January 201575. Karen B
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  • 18 January 201574. Tiffany K
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Information

Lilian DominguezBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Portland Public Schools

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