PPS to bring in third party investigator to review district’s wa - KPTV - FOX 12

PPS to bring in third party investigator to review district’s water testing

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Portland Public Schools will bring in a third party investigator to review how the district reacted to issues of water quality in schools.

District spokesperson Christine Miles said the move will be discussed by PPS Superintendent Carole Smith Tuesday.

The district decided last week that students and staff would only drink bottled water for the remainder of the year, going so far as to even use bottled water for washing dishes at the school.

Testing results showing high levels of lead the water in two schools, Creston and Rose City Park, were released last week. The district is now working with county officials to send doctors to the schools for blood testing.

Speaking before the meeting, Smith said there would be a personnel investigation looking for particular instances where staff action neglected, either through “judgment, protocol or communication,” to identify issues and inform the district leadership.

Smith said the third-party would work with the district to “look backward” through the records since the last time PPS did district-wide water testing in 2001 to see what could be learned to shape future testing protocols.

The superintendent said the district would also be starting a “Healthy Water” task force, bringing county and state health experts to review testing and provide oversight as the district works on new testing standards.

Smith noted that there was $450,000 in the district budget for water testing already planned for the summer, with an additional $100,000 coming from the city of Portland to help with the testing. She also noted that the district would use money from reserves to fully fund the testing.

The Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday at Creston School to discuss the water quality issue, followed by a community meeting.

At the meeting, one parent asked the superintendent about a recent media report claiming this isn't the first lead problem in Portland Schools.

"The Willamette Week reported that between 2010 and 2012, 47 school buildings had high levels of lead and PPS failed to disclose it."

FOX 12 asked Superintendent Smith about that report. She said the district and their investigators will be reviewing the documents.

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