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January 30, 2008

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Terry,

You mentioned $1.6 million in grants awarded. I would be interested to know how that stacks up against their personnel costs, especially since they recently initiated a retirement plan for all their employees.

I can remember when PSF was volunteer-run. . . .

Did you see the previous WWeek story prior to her departure? http://wweek.com/wwire/?p=10592?

Yes, Becky, I did. But Doug Nichols explicitly denied that allegations of financial impropriety had anything to do with her leaving. Some believe that Van Brunt's concern for serving the needs of poor kids didn't sit well with the foundation board.

The PSF is worse than irrelevant and definitely should be shut down for the sake of our schools and our kid's education.

The abyssmal dealings of the Portland School Foundation shows once again that lower economic schools are not their concern. This is the problem with the PSF. Someone who genuinely cares about the education of poor children or children outside of the upper middle class schools doesn't fit in there. Ms. Van Brunt has dedicated her life to helping educate children who don't get all the advantages, and she has had a good deal of success.

I don't think the PSF is so bad when it comes to raising money for schools and they do a nice job lobbying in Salem and certainly have helped the narrow group of schools they care about. Lots of good works. But they shouldn't be involved in deciding where even a dime is spent in relationship to lower economic schools. They have proved it here. I propose that the extra one third of the funds that are to be distributed by their grant programs be given directly to the schools which have serious difficulty in raising funds instead. Let the staff and PTSA's decide how the money for their school should be spent. (The district might have to put some light restrictions on its use like it can't be used for travel -- no teacher beach conferences which look bad etc.)

Also, the city should withdraw the funds it has the School Foundation monitoring which are meant to help lower economic areas of Portland and the school district should not allow the PSF to handle grants which are in any way involved with dispersing money in lower economic neighborhood schools.

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