By Phill Colombo
Portland Public Schools Expects to have eight percent fewer students in the next academic year but will use state and federal funding to compensate. In February, the district shared a projected 3400-student decline for all schools and said it plans on targeting state and one-time federal investments to support more than 40 positions next year.
“What we are seeing in Portland is being felt across the state and country,” said Dr. Renard Adams, chief of research, assessment and accountability. “Our analysis shows a variety of factors at play, including declining birth rates and individual choices families have made during the pandemic.”
Elementary schools expect an enrollment drop of more than 20 percent from 2020, pre-pandemic levels, but high schools expect no change.
To compensate for an expected funding reduction, the district plans to tap into other funding sources, including an emergency relief fund, a federal pandemic investment, and the Student Investment Accountpart of the state’s Student Success Act. It’s expected these resources will enable PPS to limit the impact of student enrollment declines.
“While we are forecasting fewer dollars to operate schools, generally as a result of declining student enrollment, we are also grateful to have targeted state and one-time federal investments to limit the impact of this enrollment change districts all across Oregon are facing,” said District Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero. “Fortunately, these one-time dollars will maintain our commitment to advancing key staffing priorities, including making progress towards our class size goals, a continued focus on direct student supports, and growing access to arts education.”
Guerrero will present a complete and balanced budget proposal to the PPS board in April, outlining more specific details on how strategic investment of state and federal dollars will make progress towards achieving school board goals and its strategic plan. The board will adopt a final 2022-23 school year budget in June.