Portland Public Schools facing $27.5 million budget shortfall - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland Public Schools facing $27.5 million budget shortfall

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Portland schools could be facing huge cuts in the form of school closures and more than 100 teachers being laid off.       

Superintendent Carole Smith proposed her budget last night for the district, which is facing a $27.5 million shortfall.

Superintendent Smith says the budget situation is not just a Portland problem, but an Oregon problem.

"I hate that it's the kids who really suffer. When it comes down to budget and money, it's the kids that always suffer," parent Stacey Mingo said.

Her fourth-grade daughter has been at Humboldt since pre-K and now calls the school home.  So when she heard the news of the school's possible closure, she says she was shocked.

"I mean, we're talking about kids who have developed these close niches. Their BFF is in fourth grade, third grade; they're really starting to find out who they are, and now you're taking that away from them," Mingo said.

But Superintendent Smith says there's just not enough money to go around.  Her proposed budget includes cutting 110 teaching positions, eliminating 34 office positions, reducing textbook, curriculum materials and facilities spending, drawing $7.2 million from reserves and closing Humboldt School and the Young Women's Leadership Academy.

The superintendent says her plan would have Humboldt consolidate with nearby Boise-Eliot school. Mingo and parents like her hope it won't come to that.

"Now I have to get used to a whole new set of people, a whole new set of parents, a whole new set of rules, a whole new environment.  It's going to be like a culture shock."

The superintendent says the district is also in talks with the Portland Association of Teachers to consider the option of taking furlough days next year to offset cuts to school staffing.

"My heart is going to out to anyone who's getting laid off, without a job. We're going to show strength through it all.  If it happens, we're still going to stand and we're going to stand together," Mingo said.

There will be two public hearings this month for people to weigh in before the final budget vote scheduled in May.

The hearings are slated for:

April 9 at 5 p.m. at Cleveland High School 3400 SE 26th Ave.

April 11 at 6 p.m. at Roosevelt High School 6491 N. Central Street

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