Portland, Ore. — Approximately 44,000 children in Portland will continue to be absent from school on Tuesday, marking the seventh day of missed classes due to an ongoing teachers’ strike, as announced by the district on Monday morning.
In a tweet, the district stated that its bargaining team is working to refine articles for potential tentative agreements with the teachers’ union. However, there is no indication of making sufficient progress to reopen schools on Tuesday.
Meals, which were temporarily halted, are set to resume on Tuesday, according to the district.
School Board Chair Gary Hollands acknowledged the hardship this situation poses to the community, particularly the children, over the weekend.
The Portland Association of Teachers, representing approximately 3,700 teachers, counselors, and staff, is advocating for higher wages, increased planning time, and reduced class sizes. The district contends it cannot afford the union’s proposal.
Despite weekend negotiations, the district’s proposed package, addressing compensation, preparation time, and class sizes, is estimated to cost an additional $147 million. This would necessitate budget cuts of nearly $103 million over the next three years, with no clear indication of where these cuts would be implemented, according to PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero.
The union argues minimal progress from the district on key issues in its latest proposal. Angela Bonilla, president of the Portland Association of Teachers, claims the district has the funds but refuses to engage in discussions about class sizes and their impact on students, resulting in the prolonged school closures.
Teachers from Portland Public School initiated the strike on Nov. 1. The district officials clarify that it is premature to determine whether the school year will be extended for makeup days.
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.