Portland Public Schools may consider changing its pre-K through eighth grade school boundaries and configurations to increase equity and efficiency.

At a workshop following its Tuesday night meeting, the district’s school board discussed a resolution that would direct staff to create a plan for reviewing current enrollments, boundaries and makeups of its pre-K through 8 schools to determine whether redistricting would benefit the district, its students and staff. The resolution also would call for engaging community members in the process and for creating a citizen advisory committee to review the information compiled by school staff and provide feedback.

Board Chair Sarah Lentz said she hopes that examining the district’s boundaries and school configurations will help it figure out how to ensure students have equal access to opportunities.

The board did not vote on the resolution.

In the resolution as written, members of the staff committee creating the plan would be chosen by Superintendent Ryan Scallon.

The citizen advisory committee members, who would be chosen by the board, would include two board members, two district staff members, two students or recent alumni, two school administrators, two caretakers of current students and two to four other community members.


The members of the citizen committee would be appointed by the beginning of the 2024-25 school year and an examination of the district’s pre-K through 8 schools would be completed by February 2025 to inform the 2025-26 school year budget. During the workshop Tuesday night, multiple board members and Scallon said they thought the timeline was too aggressive.

The last time Portland redistricted its schools was when it closed Clifford Elementary, opened Ocean Avenue Elementary and moved students from Clifford, Longfellow, Presumpscot and Talbot (then Riverton) to Ocean Avenue.

Since then the district and the city’s demographics have drastically changed.

Over 25% of the district’s 6,526 students are multilingual learners, 41% are economically disadvantaged, 16% are enrolled in special education and 5% are homeless, according to data from the district.

But those statistics are not uniform throughout the district’s schools.

While some schools have around 75% low-income students, others have closer to 20%, Scallon said Tuesday night. And while some schools are stretched thin supporting multilingual students, others don’t even need a multilingual teacher, he said.

The district also is considering consolidating its three high schools and Portland Adult Education into a single campus.

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