City Commission Makes School Recommendations; Governor’s Proposed Budget May Not Cause Portland Shortfall


A city commission, the Enrollment and Facility Study Commission – formed this past fall to identify and recommend possible cost-saving efficiencies to the Portland Board of Public Education voted February 14 to recommend one option, buty “only if necessary” in the event of a large budget shortfall. The option the Commission recommended would save $2.8 million by repurposing one middle school building, reconfiguring high schools and creating room for pre-K in the elementary schools by taking 5th grade out of the elementary schools. The Commission rejected four other possible options, saying the savings could not justify the changes and disruption.

The recommendation for “Option 2” will be reviewed at a public hearing before the Commission, set for Tuesday, February 26th at 6:00 pm at Casco Bay High School, at 196 Allen Avenue. After the hearing, the Commission will finalize its recommendation prior to submitting it to the Board.

Option 2 would result in a one-time cost savings of $2.8 million.

The Enrollment and Facility Study Commission is comprised of board members, city councilors, district staff and community members – has been working steadily since the fall to identify and recommend potential cost-saving efficiencies to the Board (by the start of this year’s FY 2020 budget process.with a new budget proposed by Governor Mills, the FY 20 budget picture does not look as bleak as feared. If the Legislature passes a budget with education funding labels on par with what the Governor has proposed, Portland would not be facing a large shortfall and option 2 may not be needed, the Commission said in the press release issued a few days ago.