Monday, April 03, 2006

Are they embarrassed? They should be.

I'm back from spring break, open the paper this morning to see the Oregonian continues to pretend it is a newspaper.

A front page article "analyzed" Portland School District spending, and found that: 1) employee benefits were higher than other districts, and 2) total spending was higher than similar sized districts.

"Wait," I thought..... haven't I seen or heard that somewhere before? Oh that's right! It is what I and others have been saying and writing for years on end! And further, it looked suspiciously like an article that featured about three weeks ago in the Portland Tribune.

For years on end we have been told by the Oregonian that PPS is underfunded. That we must raise taxes to save the district. That people like me who think they have enough money are not worthy of taking seriously.

Now, after the dinky little Tribune shows them up so badly, they cough up their own "analysis," and put it on the front page as if it is news?


It's a pattern we have seen from the Oregonian time and again. Just yesterday, a front page headline ran in the O that headlined: "Tram's price unrealistic from the get-go."

Oh really? You mean after months and months of Oregonian editorials saying the city must pay more for the cost overruns, after the blogosphere exposed the cost projection lies, the sham public process that ignored completely the neighborhood activists who directly challenged the cost estimates, the Oregonian now shouts a headline that the Tram's developers lied to everyone all along about what the thing would cost?

What is the Oregonian's part in perpretrating that lie? Where exactly do they take responsibility for pulling this expensive sham over on the public?

And why would they think they have any credibility remaining?


Don Smith said...


How true. The O just doesn't seem to have any investigative backbone anymore. They get scooped by WillyWeek or the Trib and then present a "hard-hitting" look at the "issues" two or three weeks late.

At this point, it's too late to do anything about the tram, but in terms of PPS, I think that the voters are at least seeing what you've been saying for some time.

I still can't figure out, though, why they're so hellbent on closing schools when there really isn't that much in savings. Is it just a "look how hard we're working" ploy? "Raise taxes or we'll close YOUR neighborhood school next" ploy? I mean, closing the two highest-performing elementary schools (Hollyrood and Smith, IIRC) to save $2MM per year seems short-sighted. Especially when you consider the savings garnered by cutting benefits.

gus miller said...

Rather than closing "boutique neighborhood schools" such as Hollyrood and Rieke, PPS administrators and board members will derive more cost reductions by allowing parents to lease or buy the buildings and operate them as public charter schools.

PPS will benefit from spending 3 or 4 thousand dollars less per charter student as well as freeing itself of staff and building costs.

Parents in those "boutique" schools should be able to raise funds the way Riverdale has been doing for years.