Portland, Ore. — Approximately 44,000 children in Portland are without school again Monday, marking the seventh day of missed classes due to an ongoing strike between Portland Public Schools (PPS) and the Portland Association of Teachers.
Despite weekend talks, no settlement agreement has been reached. The teachers’ union, representing around 3,700 educators and staff, is pushing for higher wages, increased planning time, and reduced class sizes. The school district contends that it cannot afford the union’s proposal.
Throughout the weekend, both sides engaged in negotiations. PPS presented a package addressing compensation, preparation time, and class sizes, estimating an additional cost of $147 million. This would necessitate budget cuts totaling nearly $103 million over the next three years, although specific areas for these cuts remain unclear.
School Board Chair Gary Hollands acknowledged the challenges faced by the community, especially the children. PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero mentioned a scrutiny of administrative costs, discretionary spending, and contracted services.
The union claims minimal progress from PPS on key issues in its latest proposal. Angela Bonilla, president of the Portland Association of Teachers, asserted that the district possesses the funds but refuses to address class sizes and their impact on students.
The strike, initiated by Portland Public School teachers on November 1, has left the possibility of extending the school year for makeup days undetermined. Dr. Renard Adams, chief of research, assessment, and accountability for PPS, stated that a decision on extending the school year cannot be made until the duration of the teachers’ absence is known.