Saturday, February 11, 2006

It's just a question of image

The Portland School District abandoned their tax dreams because the poll they commissioned showed that either an income tax or a new local option property tax was about as popular as Bill Sizemore at an OEA convention.

In the Oregonian today: "School leaders say they must remake the district's image before they ask for more money."


They still don't get it, do they? They honestly believe that it is simply a matter of marketing and messaging. That they can hire Gard and Gerber to conduct a PR campaign and all of a sudden people will realize that PPS has been doing a great job all along, and will support all sorts of new revenue.

Here's a good way to start remaking the district's image:

1) Cap health care premiums at $650/month per teacher.
2) Cut every administrator's salary by 25%.
3) Launch a ten year effort like Chicago Public Schools is doing to contract out low performing schools to be operated by outside school management companies.
4) Cut all curriculum specialist positions and Director of Student Achievement (DOSA) positions.
5) Get rid of the faddish "new new math" curriculum and replace it with proven programs such as Connecting Math Concepts from the University of Oregon.
6) Implement a direct, intensive, systematic, explicit and comprehensive phonics curriculum.
7) Let Self-Enhancement Inc., which now operates a charter middle school in NE Portland, take over Jefferson Cluster schools.
8) Take a leadership role in ending the PERS system and replacing it with a defined contribution program.

That would be a start, if you were truly interested in creating a system of schools that could compete.

Or, you could just hire the PR firm. That would be a lot easier.


Dare!PDX said...

There is no problem facing the PPS or the City of Portland that can not be fixed with more daylight in their processes.

Instead of a "Visioning Commitee" the Mayor should put together an auditing comittee of several hundred comunity volunteers who will set up comittees to look at specific processes and produce their findings. Kind of like the City Club but only they would have unfettered access to the city and schools books.

This would never happen though. The politicians would fear what might be discovered and the questions that might be asked.

Anonymous said...

Gard and Gerber would be a terrible idea. W+K maybe...

Charlie said...

PERS PERS's all about PERS. Until it is dismantled and turned into a 401k there can't possibly be any financial stability in Oregon. Period.

Yes....I'd prefer W-K to G&G...we'd get cuter TV ads.

Anonymous said...

Wa whoo! Rob said Connecting Math Concepts :)

Steve Schopp said...

"""Instead of a "Visioning Commitee" the Mayor should put together an auditing comittee"""

You just disqualified yourself from being on the "visioning commitee".

And Metro's "new look' and the State's "Big Look".

Sure is a wholelotta lookin goin on round here.

Steve Schopp said...

The CoP now has 12,000 acres and approximately $3.2 BILLION of assessed value in their Urban Renewal "increment".

That's 3.2 BILLION in assessed value NOT getting taxes for schools and other basic services.

The PDC and city are covering this up.

$3.2 Billion X $5.00/1000 for schools = $16 million in diverted school funding this one 05-06 fiscal year alone in the CoP.

County wide it grows. I don't have Mult. Co numbers.

Clackamas County has $1.34 BILLION of assessed value in their UR increment which is diverting $25 million this year away from basic services, of which $6.7 million is from school funding.

Clackams county is about to spend $23 million in UR borrowed funding to help expand Clackamas Town Center.

Portland is about to ramp up their UR borrowing and spending.

Apparently no one is going to say or do anything about it.

rickyragg said...

What do you think about this?

Colin said...

steve schopp is exactly right, Urban renewal is stealing a lot of money from the system, and nobody wants to talk about it. If people really knew what it was, it would not exist. (imho)

I think that is a big source of the "shortfalls" our schools all around the state are feeling. And I feel that is a lot more easily addressed up front than some of the other issues, if we resolve that, I'd imagine the picture becomes a lot more clear.