Parents weigh in ahead of boundary changes at Portland Public Sc - KPTV - FOX 12

Parents weigh in ahead of boundary changes at Portland Public Schools

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Parents and community members at a public hearing over PPS boundary changes Wednesday. Parents and community members at a public hearing over PPS boundary changes Wednesday.
Parents speaking at public hearing over PPS boundary changes Wednesday. Parents speaking at public hearing over PPS boundary changes Wednesday.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Parents had another chance to voice their concerns regarding boundary changes in Portland Public Schools at a public hearing Wednesday.

The meeting came a day after Superintendent Carole Smith released her recommendations, which were the result of months of meetings, testimony and feedback on the issue with the goal of reducing overcrowding at some schools and addressing under-enrollment at others.

It’s a process that has been controversial – and deeply emotional – for many families who will be affected by the new changes.

Parent Heidi Baker is one of about 30 people who spoke at Wednesday’s hearing, and came to tears over her 6th grade son’s concerns for the future.

“The tears started falling in the cereal,” Baker said of her 12-year-old son.

Under the current plan, Baker says he would be one of 23 students in his grade at West Sylvan to move to Wilson High School, rather than continuing on to Lincoln High School with his peers.

“His fear is he won’t fit in for the next two years, and in middle school it’s all about your peer relationships and fitting in, and we all know how hard it is to fit in in middle school regardless of the situation at hand,” Baker told Fox 12.  “Those 23 kids are not going to change anything at Lincoln High School [as far as overcrowding goes], but it will change everything for those 23 kids.”

Parent Stuart McCornack also spoke at Wednesday’s meeting.

His two children could also switch high schools in the future, but his two main concerns are the safety and extra travel time it takes to get there.

“That’s 5-6 hours over the course of the week [in transportation] which will eat into study time and other things,” McCornack told Fox 12.   “The safety concern surrounds coming home after sports or an after-school activity, or early morning situations where they’re going to be waiting downtown, in some cases in the dark.”

Parents will have another opportunity to be heard from 5-7 p.m. on April 5, ahead of the school board’s vote on one part of the Superintendent’s recommendation: opening Ockley Green as a middle school this fall, with current K-8 schools in the neighborhood returning to K-5.

The board then plans to address the remaining elements, which would go into effect over the next several years, starting at a meeting on April 12.

To learn about the specifics of the current proposal, click here or here.

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