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School board candidates offer views on issues

Question 1

What's the first change in the district you'd push for as a school board member?

2. Do you support the county income tax for schools? If voters reject the tax and the district is forced to cut more from its budget, what are the first areas that could and should be cut?

Question 3

What needs to happen to allow for a longer-term solution to the school district's continual budget problems?

Question 4

Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

ZONE 1

DAVIS

Candidate: Jim Davis

Age: Didn't disclose

Neighborhood: Hillsdale

Occupation: Publisher, Portland Remembered Calendars; owner, Running Outfitter's

Kids in PPS? Two children, at Ainsworth Elementary and Wilson High

Question 1

Mediocrity needs bureaucracy. Excellence is self-sufficient. Return control of schools to teachers and principals. Let administrators make sure toilet paper is in bathrooms and paychecks get out on time.

Question 2

I will hold my nose and vote for the tax. Cuts start with CIM and CAM (certificates of initial and advanced mastery). It doesn't work and has cost over an estimated $400 million. Cancel consulting contracts.

Question 3

Create new revenue streams, not new taxes. Repair Measure 5 to end the $104-per-student subsidy rural Oregon districts enjoy at Multnomah County taxpayers' expense.

Question 4

My mother, who taught me tenacity. The Rev. John J. Walsh, who taught me how not to confuse popularity with excellence. Professor Sam Oakland, who taught me how one person can make a difference.

OLSON

Candidate: Terry Olson

Age: 56

Neighborhood: Sellwood

Occupation: Retired teacher; school and 4-H classroom volunteer

Kids in PPS? Two children: one a graduate of PPS schools, one a junior at Cleveland High

Question 1

I would push for a review of the district's school options and transfer policy. Charter schools, magnet and focus programs, and the district's relatively lax student transfer policy all tend to exacerbate school inequities.

Question 2

I strongly support the proposed county tax. The district needs a stable and predictable source of funding for at least three years. If it fails, I would cut positions and programs that are farthest removed from the school buildings and classrooms.

Question 3

A longer-term solution to the budget crisis is entirely dependent on the state providing adequate funding for public schools. First the public needs to be convinced that public education benefits the entire community and that it's our best hope for strengthening the economy.

Question 4

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Federman in eighth grade at Duniway. É She was firm, fair and demanded what seemed like a prodigious amount of work to my 13-year-old brain. I was also seated right next to her desk, probably for behavioral reasons.

LILJEGREN

Candidate: John Liljegren

Age: 50

Neighborhood: Hayhurst

Occupation: Consultant to charter schools

Kids in PPS? Two sons: senior at Wilson High and graduate of Portland schools

QUESTION 1

Decentralize authority to the leadership of individual schools. Each school would operate under a contract with the district board and would have power over budget (based on enrollment), staff (hire and fire) and program.

Question 2

No. We have to get our cost structure under control and prove to taxpayers that we are fiscally trustworthy. First, cut staff compensation levels and reopen contracts to negotiate benefits.

Question 3

Create districtwide per-student funding formulas based on actual revenues. Allocate funds to each school based on this formula and the school's enrollment. Give each school responsibility and authority to allocate its budget and control costs.

Question 4

My eighth-grade teacher. He had enthusiasm, a sense of humor and creativity, made learning fun and encouraged great class spirit and camaraderie. He knew how to get kids to learn and have fun while doing so.

MOLLOY

Candidate: Eamon F. Molloy

Age: 44

Neighborhood: Hillsdale

Occupation: Nonprofit leader (was interim executive director at Growing Gardens)

Kids in PPS? Three sons: second-grader and fourth-grader at Rieke Elementary and a 2-year-old

Question 1

I propose a district initiative to increase parent-community involvement in all schools with programs targeted to boost achievement. PPS must also reform its nutrition education and address hunger and obesity facing Portland's children.

Question 2

Measure 26-48 must pass. A $59 million shortfall means crisis management, including layoffs, elimination of all extracurricular activities and school closures. Any other single cut is analogous to a Band-Aid applied to a hemorrhage.

Question 3

We need leadership in Salem. The state must develop a stable funding mechanism for education. This mechanism can take a variety of forms: larger local option funding, statewide property tax for education, overturning Measure 5.

Question 4

Mrs. Chisholm, my eighth-grade earth science teacher, taught me the difference between learning and performance. She demanded more than good grades. She expected me to learn regardless of how much I already knew.

MORGAN

Candidate: Douglas Morgan

Age: 60

Neighborhood: Collins View

Occupation: Director, Executive Leadership Institute, Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University

Kids in PPS? Two grown daughters, both graduates of Portland schools

Question 1

Strong leadership by the school board in closing the achievement gap with clear performance goals and managerial accountability.

Question 2

I strongly support the county tax. I agree with the priorities set forth by the current board to cope with a $50 million cut:

1. Lay off 600 teachers; 2. Increase class size.

Question 3

Brokering alliances across the state with school boards, the League of Oregon Cities, the Association of Counties and elected officials to create a broad political constituency base to alter the current funding formula.

Question 4

Joseph Lagnese, who lovingly and inspirationally squeezed every last ounce of academic achievement out of every one of his students.

STULL

Candidate: Ron Stull

Age: 44

Neighborhood: Arnold Creek

Occupation: Chief executive officer, Integrity Pipe and Steel Co.

Kids in PPS? Four: senior and freshman at Wilson High School, sixth-grader at Jackson Middle School; second-grader at Stephenson Elementary

Question 1

Sell the Blanchard (administration) building and move administration to Washington High School. Meet with all the principals to get a budget of their expenditures. Decentralize all the schools and let the principals run their schools. (Stull is part of a slate of candidates who gave similar answers.)

Question 2

We would not cut anything until we saw a line-item budget for each school. Use the $25 million in proceeds from the Blanchard building as well as other cuts until the 9-10-11 plan is implemented.

Question 3

Decentralization: Let the money flow directly to the schools. Let the principals and teachers make decisions that are fit for their school and the community in which their school resides.

Question 4

My favorite teacher was Mr. Klein. He was a drama teacher who was only a few years older than most of us students. He had a real zest.

HANNA

Candidate: Jim Hanna

Age: 56

Neighborhood: Ash Creek

Occupation: Chief financial officer, Hanna Development Inc., commercial real estate broker

Kids in PPS? One grown child who attended Portland schools

Question 1

Develop district working framework that gives neighborhood schools control of most fiscal and management functions now provided by central administration, allowing students, school employees and parents to develop guidelines and policies under which they work.

Question 2

No. My plans would continue school programs and support services without reductions. I support growth and development of public education services, which are basic for our future. Taxpayers and parents will support productive, well-managed schools.

Question 3

Everyone needs and wants education services. Adequate funding will flow to trustworthy schools. Sustainable school reform through the empowerment of students, school employees and parents will create safe, efficient neighborhood schools where successful learning/teaching will flourish.

Question 4

My seventh-grade teacher, who was able to effectively work with groups of students but also took the time to support me and other students on an individual, personal level.