Tentative deal prevents Portland school staffing cuts - KPTV - FOX 12

Tentative deal prevents Portland school staffing cuts

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A tentative agreement has been reached between the mayor's office, Portland Public Schools and the Portland teachers union to restore school staffing cuts and maintain a full school year for students.

As outlined in Mayor Sam Adams' proposed budget, the city will give $5 million to PPS. Another $2.5 million will be split proportionally between David Douglas, Centennial, Parkrose, Reynolds and Riverdale school districts.

"We didn't have the money on that table. We had to go in and cut further to city staff and city government," said Adams. "Most of them are administrative, management, supervisors, some are front line workers. But most are from administrative. It requires us to be leaner, more streamlined and that's good. Government needs to constantly work at becoming more efficient."

The budget proposes trims elsewhere, such as the money allotted for watering city parks.

"I think it's fair to say one of the trade offs that Portlanders will see more brown grass, brown lawns in the parks," he said. "When they see that, just know the savings are helping fund teachers, helping to keep the school year full and reduce class sizes."

PPS was considering cutting 110 teaching positions in order to meet a $10 million budget gap. As part of the agreement with the city, the district and the teacher's union will also make further cuts to make up the gap.

Full details of the agreement also will not be formally released until ratification of the tentative agreement by members of the Portland Association of Teachers, but cuts to benefits and compensation are on the table.

Superintendent Carole Smith said the district was considering three furlough days for teachers and 10 furlough days for central office staff, among other cuts.

Those are in addition to cuts already made to the central office.

The tentative agreement was announced as part of the mayor's proposed budget, which includes deep cuts to administration and overhead in the majority of city departments.

LINK: Mayor's proposed budget

The budget does not cut any police patrol officers or firefighters. In the Bureau of Transportation, the mayor proposed eliminating an entire layer of management in order to buy back maintenance workers and street sweeping positions.

Adams estimated about 95 full-time equivalent positions will be cut throughout the city.

It also includes a Water Bureau rate increase of 8.1 percent, smaller than the 11 percent the bureau proposed, and a Bureau of Environmental Services utility increase of 5.35 percent, smaller than the 5.9 percent increased that bureau proposed.

A public hearing will be held on the budget May 17. The City Council will vote on the budget at the end of the month.

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