I went to the Board Of Education meeting on Monday, Feb. 4th. I arrived early and had no idea what to expect. At about 5:45, community members that looked to be parents, children, and may be some staff of Chief Joseph Elementary came in armed with their signs of not closing the school, and like I said, had no idea what to expect, and unfortunately, I really didn’t know why they were all showing up to begin with.
The meeting was called to order at 6:00. The speaker then called for public comment. Four people went up. Three of them addressed their concerns for the closure of Chief Joseph Elementary. Once the public comment concluded, superintendant Smith disclosed her proposal in dealing with various issues which included proposals for boundary changes district wide, and looking at enrollment and transfer policy, and also addressing the enrollment stability in the Jefferson cluster. The reason for public concern for Chief Joseph closing is that the school is currently facing over enrollment issues. Superintendant Smith recommends that over time merge Chief Joseph to one campus on Ockley Green. The importance of strengthening neighborhood schools and trying to figure out why families are transferring out to different schools may be one reason why enrollment has been affecting this area. Because the district faces over enrollment and under enrollment in some school is why they need to take action. Schools need enough children to continue to exist and perform. “When a school has the target number of students, they qualify for more resources and teachers. That prevents turnover and creates an atmosphere wherein teachers and parents are invested” (http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/10/chief_joseph_elementary_parent.html).
Here is a link that shows the different kinds of classification of schools
There are still some opportunities that the community can get involved and have their voices and concerns heard. On Saturday, February 9th, from 10 am to noon at Jefferson High School Auditorium, they will be a public hearing about enrollment options. Community has to sign up in advance to testify.
Another opportunity will be held on February 11th at 6 pm at 501 N Dixon Street to meet about enrollment options, and the public will have 45 minutes for public comment.
February 25th at 6 pm is when the Board will vote on the superintendant’s recommendations.
Here is the link for the School Board meeting that was held on February 4th : http://www.pps.k12.or.us/departments/tv-services/6442.htm. I really didn’t think I’d get much out of going to a board meeting, but I was wrong. We are all capable and have an opportunity to have our voices heard about a topic that we feel strongly about. Not saying that the voices will be heard and or have any effect, but at least it’s out there. The community of Chief Joseph Elementary definitely won’t give up, and for sure will be seen advocating for their children in upcoming public comment sessions. As for myself, I am curious to what the Board will either support the proposal, reject, or come up with something of their own. Regardless, children will be affected by this, and hopefully their decision will benefit and not hurt the children.