Parents, students rally to protest Jefferson Cluster proposals
PORTLAND, Ore. – Parents, students and teachers rallied to keep their neighborhood schools open in Northeast Portland on Saturday.
They met outside a forum with Superintendent Carole Smith at Jefferson High School to protest proposals by Portland Public Schools that would consolidate or close schools in the Jefferson Cluster.
Hundreds of people attended the rally, pleading that schools stay open. But the district said there’s no other way to balance enrollment in the Jefferson Cluster.
“It’s all about numbers and money. That’s it,” said parent Lauren Andronici. “They’re saying we’re under-enrolled, and the money follows the students, so our programs are weak and the schools need to be strengthened, so let’s ship all these students over here…”
Many chanted and held signs at the rally. Inside the forum, Smith tried to explain that there may not be an easy solution to this enrollment imbalance.
“The options that have put out were designed to really look at how we are able to offer robust programs to every student in the cluster to prepare them for high school,” said Smith. “And we don’t currently have it.”
Smith said she wants to hear from every parent who has a concern.
She will make a single recommendation to the school board after considering feedback on the options. The school board will hold a public hearing and vote on the recommendation next month.
A group called Portland Area Social Equality Educators organized the rally.