Portland schools superintendent gives 90-day notice of retiremen - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland schools superintendent gives 90-day notice of retirement

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In a letter released Monday, Portland Public Schools superintendent Carole Smith announced her 90-day notice of retirement.

Just last month Smith announced that she would retire following the 2016-2017 school year when her contract expired.

The district has been under fire for the past couple of months after testing in multiple district facilities showed elevated levels of lead in drinking water. Smith led the push for the district to bring in an external team from Stoll Berne to review the issue and the district’s response.

The report from Stoll Berne to the board was delivered Monday, which stated that the district has not had an established protocol for testing lead levels in drinking water for the past 15 years.

The report also noted that such testing was not regulated by federal or state law, and the combination of that lack of regulation and severe budget restraints on the district has left testing and remediation for lead in water unaddressed.

In her letter, Smith noted that the investigation showed that no one “intended harm or to neglect his or her job duties” but did highlight issues with funding, prioritization and systems.

Smith also noted that she shared a list of recommendations on how to address the health and safety of students and staff, as well as the systems and operational concerns identified through the investigation.

The outgoing superintendent said it was critical for the school board to “figure out how to work together” and with her successor.

Smith noted that she has accumulated a substantial amount of leave, and a source with the district confirms that she will not be returning to the PPS offices through her final 90 days as superintendent.

School board chair Tom Koehler released a statement on Smith’s retirement, thanking her for her service to public education in Oregon and calling her a “passionate advocate for students.”

A spokesperson for the district said they hope to name an interim superintendent before the beginning of the upcoming school year.

Smith has served as the superintendent for nine years in Portland.

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