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Nine former Portland Public Schools board members say Paul Anthony needs to change his approach to the job, and a reader is glad the Republican health care overhaul has stalled

As representatives of a group of former PPS board members whose service spans five decades, we thank the Tribune for its coverage of the outrageous behavior of Portland Public Schools board member Paul Anthony, and for the continuing coverage of the school board's "higher expectations" under new leadership.

We are encouraged that Julia Brim-Edwards and other board members are, as reported by the Tribune last week, recommitting themselves to student-focused leadership, and to functioning in a professional and respectful manner with the community, with staff, and with one another.

We were shocked and dismayed to see Anthony's behavior reach the point where the association of school principals has called for his resignation.

As elected school board members, we clearly knew our role was to set policy, adopt budgets, establish metrics and oversight for programs, and hire and oversee the superintendent. We also knew it was our job to represent the public, to advocate on behalf of the community, and to provide clear-eyed assessments of where the district needed to improve — but that it was our responsibility to do so in a respectful, constructive, and professional manner.

Mr. Anthony has shown his disdain for the appropriate governance role of a school board member. He oversteps his boundaries as a board member in attacking district employees, often using abusive and bullying language. His inappropriate behavior has caused enormous dissension within the Portland education community.

With new board leadership and a hopefully less polarized, more respectful atmosphere on the Portland School Board, we look for Anthony to immediately reform, and for the other board members to hold him accountable for his conduct. It's up to everyone committed to strong leadership for our public schools to see that this happens.

Frank McNamara, Dean Gisvold, Charlotte Beeman, Bill Scott, Stephen Kafoury, Doug Capps, Karla Wenzel, Ruth Adkins,Pam Knowles

Fund programs for truly vulnerable

Thanks to Janet Brumbaugh for speaking out and encouraging others to speak out against a health care bill that hurts the poor and most vulnerable ("Take action on health care," Letters, July 13 Tribune).

It worked. Congress listened and dropped that attempt to pass "health care" legislation. Now our voices will be needed again as they seek to pass a budget with significant cuts to safety-net programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps).

With one in five children in America not sure about their next meal, how could we cut this vital program? Time to call and write our senators and representatives to make sure these important programs are fully funded.

Willie Dickerson

Snohomish, Washington

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