Portland Public Schools principals offer thoughts on transfer policy to citizens committee

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Portland Public Schools district should vastly limit its transfer policy, multiple principals said Tuesday.

Principals on Tuesday gave advice to the superintendent’s advisory committee on enrollment and transfer, which has been meeting throughout the summer to discuss the transfer policy. Parents eager for choice support the policy, but critics say it weakens certain schools and further contributes to class- and race-based inequities within the district.

Debate over the district’s transfer policy ramped up during the months-long discussion last fall on how to balance enrollment within the Jefferson High School cluster, where five schools have been closed since 2005.

The North and Northeast Portland cluster includes several schools that attract a very low percentage of its neighborhood students: for example, Woodlawn School in 2012 saw approximately 60 percent of students living within its boundaries transferring to other schools, according to district data. The issue has big implications with funding: When students leave schools, per-pupil funding follows them, reducing resources for schools that struggle with enrollment.

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