PPS Shares Projected 2022-23 Staffing Allocation for Schools2/16/2022
Dear PPS Community,
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Portland Public Schools has seen a significant decrease in student enrollment, and we are projecting that we will be down more than 3,400 students next school year, a decline of 8%.
We want to let you know about staffing measures we will be taking in response to the decline, as well as steps we will take to minimize the impact on our most vulnerable students. Full budget details for 2022-23 will be presented in April.
How Enrollment and Funding Work
Because state funding for public education is largely determined by enrollment, a decline would usually cause a decrease in projected revenue, creating a direct impact on school-based staffing allocations. However, using one-time pandemic money and other funding sources, we plan to maintain more than 40 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions across PPS to address our most important priorities:
- Limit impact of student enrollment declines
- Make incremental progress towards class size goals
- Prioritize behavioral and mental health supports
- Maintain and enhance access to arts education
- Equitable distribution of resources to support students of color and historically underserved students.
The decline in enrollment in PPS mirrors the trend we are seeing not only in Oregon, but throughout the United States as well. Several factors led to the drop, including decreasing birth rates, enrollment patterns, school re-configurations and choices families have made during the pandemic. This is most evident in our elementary schools where we expect a drop in enrollment of more than 20% from 2020 (pre-COVID).
How One-Time Funding Will Help Reduce Impact
To deal with the potential financial impact of decreasing enrollment, we will be able to tap into other funding sources. They include the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), a Federal pandemic investment; and the Student Investment Account (SIA), which is part of the State’s Student Success Act bill that was passed shortly before the start of the pandemic. With this funding, we will be able to:
Limit impact of student enrollment declines
The majority of K-5 schools will see no more than a 15% year-to-year change in K-5 homeroom teacher assignments, regardless of enrollment change. This will preserve about 14 positions across K-5 schools next school year.
Additionally, despite several hundred fewer students identified to receive special education services, we anticipate only seeing about half a dozen student-facing positions in special education being reduced next year.
Make incremental progress towards class size goals
We are also making additional investments to fund an additional 14 homeroom teachers in K-5. This will allow us to continue to work toward the goals we have set for class sizes for:
- Kindergarten and Grades 1-3 at Title I schools
- Grades 2 and 3 at CSI (Comprehensive Supports for Improvement) schools
- Grades 4 and 5 across all schools
Prioritize behavioral and mental health supports
The pandemic’s impact on the mental health of students has been profound, making socio-emotional support indispensable. Because of this, PPS will maintain the total number of current counselor positions across our schools and more than 30 social workers.
Maintain and enhance access to arts education
The Portland Arts Tax creates annual revenue to hire art and music teachers based on enrollment. To mitigate the impact of lost funding because of declining enrollment, we will tap our general fund to maintain four arts positions across nine schools for next school year.
In addition, in an effort to complete art offerings across every PPS school, we expect to add more than 10 FTE art teachers. With this investment, an added 36% of students will attend a PPS school where both performing and visual arts are offered. This gets us significantly closer to our goal of 100% access to both performing and visual arts by next school year.
Equitable Prioritization of Students of Color and Historically Underserved Schools
We will continue to use one-time dollars to support our students–especially our students of color–to accelerate their learning, limit the impact of declining enrollment on them, and make significant efforts to improve their educational experience.
We continue to invest SIA and ESSER dollars to address pandemic-related health and safety needs, support learning acceleration efforts, and prioritize the mental and behavioral health of our students, all of which include more than 200 staff dedicated to these priorities. We also continue to set aside 8%, under the PPS Equity Formula, from the general fund to distribute additional staffing support to schools serving students who are living in poverty or are historically underserved.
As is the case every spring, Superintendent Guerrero will present a complete and balanced budget proposal to the PPS School Board in late April. The Superintendent’s budget proposal will outline more specific details on how PPS will strategically invest additional ESSER and SIA dollars to make progress towards achieving our school board’s student achievement goals and action steps outlined in our strategic plan.
We look forward to the brighter days we know are coming. Thank you.
Dr. Cheryl Proctor
Deputy Superintendent, Instruction and School Communities
Deputy Superintendent, Business and Operations