Portland schools delay middle school transition

Roseway Heights and Tubman were supposed to become middle schools next year

Bob McKean, chosen the interim PPS superintendent, August 16, 2016 (KOIN)
Bob McKean, chosen the interim PPS superintendent, August 16, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In spring 2015, former Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith was working with a district wide boundary review advisory committee to reduce overcrowding in schools.

The district operated under a K-8 model when enrollment was declining, but as enrollment has grown the district is moving toward a middle school model. That change would convert K-8 schools to elementary and middle schools.

Two schools, Roseway Heights and Tubman, were supposed to be transitioned into 6-8th grade middle schools for next year, but that process is delayed.

“With all the competing priorities that we are dealing with we just don’t have the capacity to do it,” Interim Superintendent Bob McKean said. “Frankly, what we want to do is spend the year really developing the program and bring it online a year later and do a really good job.”

In the meantime, McKean says the focus will be on addressing environmental health and safety concerns, working on the May 2017 school bond and finding a permanent superintendent.

McKean said they are making progress on the lead issues but still have more work to do.

“We are doing the second round of testing on them to find out if the lead issues we have in 13% of our fountains are in the pipes or other places,” Mckean said.