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Summary Meeting Notes: March 18, 2013 Education and Youth Success PEG Meeting

Summary Meeting Notes

Education and Youth Success Policy Expert Group Meeting #9

Meeting Date: March 18, 2013
Time: 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Attendees:   Paul Cathcart, Lois Cohen, Will Fuller, Douglas Hardy, Stacey Triplett, Helen Ying
Staff / Facilitator: Deborah Stein, Bob Glascock, John Cole, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; Clark Worth, Barney & Worth
Public / Guests:  Kim Marcus, Betsy Salter

View the original agenda, including materials, for this meeting.

Meeting Goal: PEG discussion and feedback on Comprehensive Plan Working Draft (Part 1 – Goals and Policies) 

Welcome and Reflections from Last Meeting
Presenter: Clark Worth
Summary: Deborah Stein announced there was a meeting with school district superintendents on March 8. The superintendents appreciated being consulted about the Comprehensive Plan and welcomed future updates. They expressed interest in the City’s regulatory process related to school construction and renovation, particularly in light of construction bond programs currently underway. Don Grotting, David Douglas Superintendent, has asked for building permit data so that his district can better anticipate new development and its impact on school enrollment.Helen Ying said the East Portland Action Committee is also interested in the connection between housing development and schools.  Christina Scarzello of BPS will serve as a go-between to provide this information.  Douglas Hardy said the Bureau of Development Services produces a quarterly report that may give the districts what they need. Deborah Stein also noted Portland Public Schools has open seats for the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for Enrollment & Transfer (SACET).  PEG members are encouraged to apply.

PEG Reports on Public Workshops
PEG members were invited to attend / observe one or more of the public workshops.  The seven workshops are now complete.  The final workshop, targeting the business community, was held on Thursday, March 14, 7:30-9:00 a.m.

Altogether, PEG members at the March 18 meeting reported attending six of the seven recent workshops:East Portland, North, Northeast, Southwest, Central City and Business.  They offered the following observations:

  • Turnout varied widely, from fewer than 20 to 80+.  Most participants stayed throughout the programs.
  • Some workshops drew the “usual suspects” while others attracted new participants and prominent community leaders.
  • The well-framed, meaningful questions generated good conversation and insightful comments.
  • Education quality was raised as a priority in several discussion groups.

PEG members asked about additional public workshops. One upcoming session (April 3 at the PSU Native American Student and Community Center) will have an environmental focus, and will be co-hosted by the PSU Environmental Club and Sustainability Leadership Center-Institute for Sustainable Solutions. Deborah Stein reported that staff is open to co-hosting additional presentations/discussions with interested community groups on specific topics, and PEG members are invited to suggest additional audiences.

“Ed Specs”
Presenter: Paul Cathcart, Portland Public Schools
Summary: Overview of the PPS “Ed Specs” initiative

In 2012, voters approved Portland Public Schools’ $482 million bond measure for school improvements. Paul Cathcartgave a recap on how the bond funds will be spent.  The program includes master planning for school buildings and sites, and a series of future bond measures are anticipated to renovate more schools.

The Ed Specs initiative started in February and includes community conversations with groups not traditionally heard from.  There are provocative questions such as: “Do we need school libraries anymore?”  The Ed Specs conversations finish in May, with a final document due in July.

Questions and comments by PEG members (and responses):

  • Has PPS identified which schools are first? (Yes.)
  • Do the school master plans consider community use of buildings? (Yes—for small and large gatherings, and diverse types of uses.)
  • The use of tablet computers may cause a shift away from standard school buildings and classrooms.  School buildings may be replaced by educational hardware and software.

Process Updates
Presenter: Deborah Stein, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Summary: Update on process—workshops, survey, and preview of Part 2.
Deborah Stein reviewed progress including the recent public workshops and a policy survey.  In addition to the workshops and survey, discussions are also being scheduled with community-based organizations (ongoing throughout the planning).

Comments are due May 1 on Part 1 of the Comprehensive Plan – Goals & Policies Working Draft.  Part 2 – Mapping will cover Comprehensive Plan zoning designations and also include facilities: the updated Citywide Systems Plan and Transportation Systems Plan.  Mapping will focus discussion at the district level.  Most participants want to know what’s proposed in their area.  Public workshops on this topic will be held in Fall 2013.

Questions and comments by PEG members:

  • Will the Working Draft be revised?  When?  (Yes—but the revised version won’t be published until the end of the Part 2 process.  There will be an opportunity for public feedback at that time.)
  • BPS should expect more vigorous comment when new land use/zoning maps are published in January 2014.
  • Will Fuller volunteered to distribute the survey to the Wilson Leadership Team youth group.

Deborah Stein said that the different PEGs would be wrapping up their work over the next couple months, but there may be upcoming meetings to link the work of different PEGs, and discuss common themes and topics.

PEG Discussion: Comprehensive Plan Working Draft Review
Presenter: Deborah Stein, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Summary: PEG discussion and feedback on Working Draft Part 1 - Review of specific goal and policies for effectiveness at addressing issues of interest to the Education and Youth Success PEG, explore potential outcomes, and consider how they achieve or hinder aspirations for a more equitable city.  

PEG members’ comments and questions:

  • The document is well organized, but should be published in a web-based, searchable format.
  • The Plan should highlight youth more than schools: for transportation, community centers, parks, etc.
  • Many proposed policies came from a 30-year old document, but weren’t implemented.  Will things be different this time?
  • The Plan should highlight the role of the community.  There needs to be a sense of ownership among Portlanders who don’t have kids in school.  The Plan should focus on priorities that benefit schools / youth and others: e.g., community centers, sidewalks.
  • Section 3 policies offer “nice language”, but should spell out how coordination and partnerships with school districts work (e.g., sharing population data among school districts, PSU and City)
  • BPS should look ahead to the relationship between enrollment forecasts and housing.  There will need to be ongoing dialogue with the districts.
  • Chapter 8 has “the least fleshed out policies”.  There need to be more specifics added here to clarify accountability—without making it an action plan.  The relationship to Goal 1 should also be clarified and expanded (e.g, policy 1.4 re: partners in decision-making, and 8.1 re: intergovernmental agreements).
  • Policy 6.22 – “Community Uses”: is it possible to provide more details here or elsewhere? We should add access to nature/greenways here as well, since access to nature is a key element of a youth-supportive environment.
  • The East Portland Action Plan group promises to undertake a markup of the Working Draft at an upcoming meeting.
  • Can youth issues be added to the Public Safety section?  (Violence prevention, youth-oriented services)
  • Highlight services that support good, stable families and youth / schools: public health, nutrition, Harvey Scott program to avoid student “summer slide”.
  • School facilities are also important.  They need to be “inviting places” for youth.
  • How should area plans consider youth, for exampleOldTown/Chinatownplanning currently underway?
  • Planning & Sustainability Commission should understand that many education / youth issues in the Plan are outside the realm of BPS and the City ofPortland.  And some items—e.g., SUN Schools—are susceptible to budget cuts.
  • Are we using the right verb to ensure action?  Use the strongest terms: “require”, “must have”.
  • How can we differentiate between the priorities that require / don’t require funding allocations?  Let’s not create unrealistic expectations.
  • Chapter 1.6 Community Involvement: tone of the document is important.  Should this be a top-down or bottom-up structure?  This chapter represents the strongest deviation from current policy.
  • Equity: there’s a general commitment to connect with groups traditionally left out.

Public Comment

Questions and comments offered by members of the public who were present:

  • How / when can citizens get more information on Ed Specs?  (On PPS website.)
  • The Comprehensive Plan’s updated provisions should be synced with the school district bond measure—current and future.

Next Steps

The next PEG meeting is set for Monday, April 15, 4:00-6:00 p.m.  This meeting will wrap up discussion on the draft goals and policies.

Meeting handouts and presentations from March 18:

For more information, please contact either Deborah Stein, Bureau of Planning & Sustainability at 503-823-6991 or deborah.stein@portlandoregon.gov, or Clark Worth, Facilitator at 503-222-0146 or clark@barneyandworth.com.