This week’s talk about Board of Education priorities reminded me of two years ago as people were losing jobs or unable to go to work (“Portland Superintendent’s Notebook: Budget will keep the focus on teaching, learning,” Feb. 16). Day care was reaching crisis; everything affected normal life.

I remember the city manager submitting a Portland budget and saying that he had tried to keep it as lean as possible because of the hardship. That seemed quite thoughtful.

Within a few weeks or months, however, the Board of Education announced its budget, including a huge increase for something that I don’t remember. They said it seemed time to get pre-K fully operational and they really wanted to bring in something else, also expensive.

Interesting contrast.

This week, I felt a little anxious reading some school budget comments. Yes, we have the most diverse school district, which really makes it interesting. What a great opportunity for all of the kids. Of course, it brings challenges, but it has seemed to me that the city does well with it, regarding schools. I’m trusting them to provide the best education possible to all the young people, as (Superintendent) Xavier Botana says, to “close the opportunity gaps between our economically disadvantaged students … and our more advantaged students … ”. I certainly hope so. Why does it need to be pointed out that the more economically disadvantaged students are mostly students of color, English language learners and students with disabilities?

I want to root and cheer for all of them and trust that the Board of Education – the whole system – is there for all the kids. Let’s have equity for all the students, regardless of their designation in life at this point. Portland is fortunate to have so many students of different backgrounds. Of course, there are plenty of challenges, but also it brings opportunities for all young people to experience diversity.

Grace Braley
Portland