Audit finds disparity in outcomes at Portland schools

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An audit by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office has found an achievement gap of more than 50 percent between white students and black students in state’s largest school district, Portland Public Schools.

The year-long audit released Wednesday also found that teachers at the district’s high-poverty schools were absent an average of one-month out of a nine-month school year. Most absences fell on Fridays and Mondays.

The report also flagged excessive spending on retirement parties and gifts, including $13,000 to rent a Portland Spirit river cruise ship.

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson says the district has agreed to 26 audit recommendations to improve performance.

Meanwhile, Portland schools compare favorably to other districts both in and out of the state when it comes to white students who aren’t low-income.