Portland, Ore. — Amid the anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, Portland Public Schools (PPS) educators express concerns about the potential loss of their healthcare. With school cancellations extending through Friday, the earliest date for classes to resume is now November 27th.

Thursday marked the deadline for teachers to return to the classroom to avoid losing health coverage in December, according to PPS. In response, the Oregon Education Association has committed to covering insurance costs during a strike, although the duration remains uncertain.

Meanwhile, educators persist in advocating for cost-of-living adjustments, mental health support, and smaller classroom sizes—issues they argue the district has not compromised enough on. PPS approved a settlement package on Wednesday, featuring additional planning time and a class-size adjustment process. However, the Portland Association of Teachers deemed it insufficient.

The association released a statement expressing disappointment with PPS’s decision to keep schools closed until November 27th. Despite Monday and Tuesday being designated for parent-teacher conferences, they contend these days should count as instructional days. Portland educators aim to continue bargaining for a fair settlement that would promptly resume student instruction.

PPS responded, clarifying that next Monday and Tuesday were reserved for family-teacher conferences, emphasizing the importance of educators having sufficient time to evaluate student work and complete grading. Due to the ongoing strike and school closures, these conferences are now canceled.

As negotiations progress, PPS conveyed that the Portland Association of Teachers has responded to their proposal, and they are evaluating it. The latest proposals from PPS address increased planning and preparation time for teachers, strategies to reduce class sizes, and proactive measures for addressing concerns related to school buildings.

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