Portland Public Schools is planning to maintain teaching positions -- rather than cut them -- for the first time in years.

Superintendent Carole Smith's proposed budget had to absorb the loss of at least $2.5 million due to federal sequestration and the loss of grant funds.

Still, Smith's budget adds 66 teachers -- and proposes paying for the 110 teachers that the city funded for this school year.

Smith credits three factors for the rosier outlook: Portland voters approving a tax for arts education, finding operating efficiencies, and an anticipated boost in state funding.

"I'm really characterizing this as 'halting erosion' and 'relative stability,' because you will feel that differently, as it hits individual schools."

Smith suggested some schools would see cuts, but she wouldn't say which ones.

Smith proposes 20 additional staff at struggling "priority" and "focus" schools. And Smith proposes adding staff to high schools to boost graduation rates.

The arts tax adds about 45 teachers to elementary grades.

The Portland school board needs to approve the budget.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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