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Public Hearing Sept. 4 on Facilities, Capacity

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Public Hearing Sept. 4 on Facilities, Capacity
Posted on 08/29/2018
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The Portland Board of Public Education will hold a workshop and public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 4, regarding a comprehensive facilities and capacity analysis that the Portland Public Schools plans to conduct during the 2018-2019 school year.

The school board’s workshop will begin at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Portland City Hall. A public hearing will immediately follow the workshop.

The need for the analysis became apparent during the FY 2019 budget process. It was clear that changes in the state school funding formula and increased valuation for the city of Portland would likely lead to ongoing reductions in state funding for the Portland Public Schools for the foreseeable future.

As a result, the school board committed to review all aspects of the district’s current enrollment and capacity to determine if there are long-term efficiencies that can be implemented to reduce the overall cost of education. To that end, the school board adopted a “School Boundary and School Capacity Review” resolution at its May 15 meeting. The resolution called for the superintendent to present a plan for executing a comprehensive facilities and capacity analysis over the course of the 2018-19 school year. View the resolution at: https://www.portlandschools.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=31767818

The process started with a school board workshop on Aug. 21. View a presentation made at the workshop on the plan for the analysis at: 
https://www.boarddocs.com/me/portland/Board.nsf/files/B44NFV5F4F19/$file/Board%20Workshop%20on%20School%20Facilities%20Capacity%20and%20Demographic%20Workplan_August%2021_2018_Henry%20copy%20(3).pdf

After the workshop and public hearing at its Sept. 4 board meeting, the board is expected to take on vote on a consulting contract to staff the comprehensive review and appoint a commission to oversee the work at its Sept. 25 meeting.

The review will take place over the fall and into January. The district will launch a survey in September to provide the community with an opportunity to weigh in.

“After a very tough, challenging budget year, we are committed to an extensive look at our enrollment, facility use and demographics to identify potential cost-saving efficiencies,” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “I urge the community and our staff to stay involved throughout this process. Important decisions about our schools, our school boundaries and our investments will result from this analysis.”

The superintendent is proposing the district enter into a contract with Davis Demographics, a company with history working with the Portland Public Schools on similar projects (most recently in connection with the elementary facilities work in Buildings for Our Future).