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Kulongoski goes on the attack on TV

Gov. Ted Kulongoski&

8217;s re-election campaign released a television ad over the weekend that hammers away at Republican opponent Ron Saxton&

8217;s record as chairman of the Portland school board.





LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: On television stations in Portland, Bend, Eugene and Medford.

SCRIPT: Saxton: Creating great schools takes more than money, it takes leadership.

Announcer: Leadership? When Ron Saxton led the Portland school district, he failed to balance the budget and had to ask the city for three bailouts. Leadership? On Saxton&

8217;s watch, spending on administration grew 25 percent faster than spending in classrooms. Leadership? And when the bureaucrats he hired mismanaged the school district, Saxton gave them hundreds of thousands of dollars in golden parachutes. Ron Saxton. Wrong Priorities. Failed Leadership.

KEY IMAGES: A full color close-up of Saxton speaking about education, which fades to black and white as the narration begins. Next to the image of Saxton are pullout quotes from newspaper reports, included as citations for the ad&

8217;s assertions.

ANALYSIS: Kulongoski has consistently returned to Saxton&

8217;s service on the school board to try to point out inconsistencies between Saxton&

8217;s message of fiscal discipline and streamlining of state services and results from his time on the school board, the only time Saxton has served in elective office. He was elected to the seven-member board in 1997, and was its chair from 1998 to 2000.

During Saxton&

8217;s tenure, the Portland City Council did direct extra funding to the Portland Public School district, to help make up for funding gaps left after legislators failed to provide as much money as the district had anticipated. In the six years between 1993 and 1999, the city sent more than $40 million to the school district.

According to a review done by The Oregonian in 2001, the district&

8217;s administrative spending did increase under then-Superintendent Ben Canada, who was hired in 1998, while Saxton chaired the school board.

But the district did trim the overall number of central administrators, from 54 to 47, and added some administrative costs at the recommendation of outside auditors, including for recruiting, a new computer system and better communications. At the time, Saxton also said it would have been unfair to follow recommendations to ask administrators to take unpaid time off.

On the &

8220;golden parachute&

8221; charge, Saxton has said Canada was hired under a then-standard contract, which specified that his salary had to be paid through the end of the school year following the year he was released. He has pinned the blame on Canada for the contracts that led to large severance payments to Deputy Superintendent Susan Dyer and Human Resources Director Steve Goldschmidt.




Analysis by AP Writer Julia Silverman