PPS redraws boundaries, brings back middle schools

Education

The changes at Portland Public Schools are part of a $790 million bond

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Even though students are not in classrooms right now, Oregon’s largest school district is moving forward with some big changes.

Portland Public Schools is in the process of redrawing school boundary lines and bringing back middle schools as part of a $790 million bond approved in 2017.

PPS is rebuilding Kellogg School as a middle school and also turning Harrison Park into a middle school instead of a K-8 school. With more than 49,000 students in the Portland district, the decision to redraw boundary lines is partly due to the shift to middle schools but officials say it will also reduce overcrowding at some schools. New boundary lines are also expected to help keep special needs children in familiar groups as they move through grades.

The district is also returning to a middle school focus for grades 6-8 in part to provide more elective options.

“If we have more students at a middle school, then we can offer the special classes students really like such as robots, more art offerings, theater, shop class,” said PPS board member Scott Bailey.

There are also plans to turn some elementary schools into language immersion only programs that would draw kids from many neighborhoods. The school board expects to make some final decisions in December.

Members of the public can still weigh in on the district’s plans during regular meetings held by the “Guiding Coalition” and at a virtual town hall next week.

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