November 24th, 2008 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Schools, City Hall

Parents Say Merged Schools Squeeze Children, Traffic

Clark K-8 @ Binnsmead School (the awkwardly named Portland school that recently made news because some students there want to rename it for President-elect Barack Obama) is again in the spotlight this month.

The outer Southeast Portland school, the result of a new merger between an elementary school (Clark) and a middle school (Binnsmead), now has children as young as 5, although it was designed to accommodate pre-teens.

As a result, safety measures near the middle-school building (Binnsmead) where elementary-school children attend classes, are inadequate, according to dozens of parents who signed a petition sent Nov. 19 to Portland Public Schools and the City of Portland's Office of Transportation.

Their concerns focus on pedestrian hazards for young children walking to and from school. "If obtaining a quality public education is a fundamental right of our children, then the safety of those children is the responsibility of those charged with providing that education," writes parent Kurt Van Deren in a cover letter accompanying the petition.

Concerns about heavy traffic creating trouble spots for young children are not limited to Clark K-8 @ Binnsmead. This summer, education activists began lodging similar complaints, which have not yet been resolved.

The educational programs offered at PPS's new K-8s are also under additional scrutiny.
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