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Portland Public Schools Board of Directors rejoins Oregon School Boards Association

The leadership of the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) has welcomed Portland Public Schools (PPS) back to the ranks of its membership, following a decision to rejoin the association by the PPS board at its Monday meeting.

“This is a great day for public education in Portland and throughout Oregon,” said Kris Howatt, president of OSBA. “The Portland Public Schools Board of Directors brings tremendous energy and invaluable perspective to OSBA. By rejoining the association, PPS helps unify advocates for public education as we tackle major statewide issues like school funding, student achievement and accountability.”

Betsy Miller-Jones, OSBA interim executive director, said the association and the Portland school board “are on the same page” concerning education priorities and goals. “We’re excited to work with Portland Public Schools on a shared vision of public education in Oregon,” Miller-Jones said. “We have the same goals, and we’re glad to partner with Portland Public Schools to achieve those goals.”

Miller-Jones also said OSBA has taken effective steps to address issues of primary importance to the Portland Public Schools Board. These include the following:

  • Training and networking on urban issues
  • Providing opportunities to participate in the leadership and direction of OSBA by considering ex officio OSBA board positions that would represent very large and very small districts
  • Convening discussion groups across the state on important educational issues
  • Attending PPS board meetings.

Portland Public Schools board co-chair Pam Knowles lauded OSBA’s action to welcome PPS back and to recapture a leading role in advocating for public education.

“We greatly appreciate OSBA’s responsiveness in addressing the PPS Board’s priorities,” Knowles said. “We believe the time is right to rejoin OSBA and help make public education the focus of a statewide strategy for economic recovery.”

In recent months OSBA officials have linked an upgrade to Oregon’s investment in schools to long-term economic prosperity. In guest-opinion pieces that have appeared in major daily newspapers throughout the state since March, the association has stressed the economic benefits that school districts generate in local communities.

“We have also pointed out that a stronger public investment in education will produce a more capable workforce that attracts new employers and enterprises,” Howatt said.