Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Educators in Portland Public Schools are preparing to go on strike starting Wednesday following unsuccessful contract negotiations with the district. The Portland Association of Teachers expressed disappointment over the district’s failure to meet their demands for resources that would benefit both students and educators.
As a result of the strike, classes in Portland Public Schools will be canceled starting on Wednesday and potentially continuing through Thursday. To keep parents informed about the status of school closures, the district will send out daily updates through text messages and email.
While urging the teaching union not to go on strike, the district highlighted the negative impact it would have on students and how it would exacerbate the effects of previous school closures. Despite their efforts, the district has not been successful in preventing the strike.
The district did present a new contract offer that aligns with the union’s proposal for elementary educators in certain areas. However, the district did not agree to concede on compensation. One of the main issues of contention between the union and the district is pay, along with class sizes and prep time.
According to the district, the union’s requests for class size limits and planning time standards would require hiring an additional 500 teachers, which they claim is not feasible due to declining enrollment.
Another significant challenge the district faces is the lack of substitutes available to cover for the unionized staff. As a result, the district has decided to close all 81 schools for the duration of the strike.
Despite the strike, the district remains committed to negotiating until the last minute to prevent a complete shutdown. If a last-minute deal is reached, the district promises to promptly inform parents.
The educators’ strike in Portland Public Schools highlights the ongoing issues faced by both teachers and districts in providing quality education. The hopes for a resolution remain high as negotiations continue, but for now, students and parents will have to prepare for the temporary closure of schools.