PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After the Portland Public Schools superintendent’s budget was presented to the school board Tuesday night, there are now some difficult choices to make.
Although the presented budget came in at over $2 billion, the board was told by the PPS chief of staff close to 90 staff positions would be cut — representing a 3% staff reduction. The district expects to see a 1% decline in enrollment, and some of the money the state gives to schools is based on that enrollment number.
PPS has not said exactly who would be cut, but that there would be a reduction at the elementary level. It’s still unclear whether there would be layoffs depending on how much movement there is from retirements or other reasons people leave.
The district says the average class size would be just over 22 students per homeroom in elementary schools, but many would be under that number.
The head of the teachers union tells KOIN 6 News she is very concerned about what could happen at middle schools if they lose staff.
“Our middle schoolers were really impacted by COVID closures. Some of them left their elementary schools and didn’t come back until they were at a completely new school,” said Angela Bonilla, President of the Portland Association of Teachers. “Our middle schools need more support.”
The board has a lot of questions before it votes on this budget in late May, and the district is still in bargaining talks for a new contract for the teachers.
There is a public community hearing coming up on May 4.