I was expecting a pretty contentious Board of Education meeting last night—teacher contract woes, High School Redesign anxiety—but one controversial item was pulled from the agenda just hours before the meeting.

The STARBASE program (yes, all caps, it's one of those weird military acronyms) uses money from the Department of Defense's recruiting budget to send Portland's K-5 students to learn science and math skills in the hands of the Air National Guard.

Each year the board approves a contract to accept around $300,000 from the Oregon Military Department to pay for the program.

They were set to do so again last night, but when it came time for the approval, the item was declared "withdrawn." After the meeting, PPS Chief Legal Counsel Jollee Patterson told me that "questions had been raised about the program," and "we don't have all the answers that we need." The board's vote has been postponed until February 22 or March 8.

School Board Manager Linda Rose says the "questions" came from two or three board members who were exchanging e-mails. She says their concerns will be addressed before a future meeting.

It's possible that those board members have been reading their blogs: blogger and parent Nancy Rawley has been criticizing the program for years, and helped issue a press release before last night's meeting.

Did her blog entries influence the delay? "I'd like to think so," says Rawley. School administrators "definitely read the blogs," she says. "Our greatest number of hits [at ppsequity.org] is from school system computers."

Who were the dissenting voices on the board? What "questions" will be answered? And will the answers be made available to the public? We shall see!