In a recent email titled, “Keeping promises,” Mayor Michael Brennan writes that when he entered office, there were two failing schools in Portland. Now, four years later, he writes, there are none. It’s true that Portland has made incredible strides in our educational system in the past four years.

The turnaround in some of our struggling schools is indeed an accomplishment to celebrate, but the mayor should not take credit for these improvements.

Rather, the transformation Brennan references is due to the commitment and innovation of Portland’s teachers, the unfailing support and guidance from the administration, the school board’s willingness to allocate critical funding and the strategic targeting and tireless efforts of community partners to improve student achievement.

Perhaps most critical to the success of our schools are the parents and families who work hard every single day to support students. It takes a village to build a strong educational system. Despite his claim of supporting these educational improvements, in May, Mayor Brennan passed a city budget that took away nearly $3 million from the school budget without consulting anyone from the school board. As a member of the school board Finance Committee, I found out about this decision while watching the local news and was dumbfounded.

We teach our children every day the value of teamwork, communication and cooperative effort. I cannot support a leader who does not see the benefits of these virtues in operating our schools and ultimately, our city.

Ethan Strimling has directed LearningWorks, one of Portland Public Schools’ community partnerships, for 18 years. Under his leadership, the organization has provided after-school and summer learning programs that have produced measurable improvements in student achievement. This is the type of support and community collaboration our students deserve.

Stephanie Hatzenbuehler

member, Portland Board of Education