News | Education | local

Portland School Board Backs District In Contract Dispute, Informal Talks Underway

OPB | Nov. 13, 2013 4:12 p.m. | Portland

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Portland school board members sided Tuesday with the district, in its contract dispute with teachers. The two sides were in informal talks Wednesday.

The board resolution supports some of the teachers’ goals - but says the issues don’t belong in a contract. Putting limits on teacher workloads is a union priority for the contract. The district wants to put class size and other limits in the hands of a work group.

Board member Bobbie Regan pressed the district’s bargaining team to get a deal quickly.

“We direct our bargaining representatives to continue using all of the means at their disposal to reach a contract agreement in a timely manner,” Regan said.

Union leaders worry that such statements signal board support for the declaration of an impasse. That would start a timeline - potentially - toward Portland Public Schools implementing a final contract, or the teachers voting to strike.

Portland Association of Teachers president Gwen Sullivan says in a positive step, reps from both sides have started informal meetings to reach common understanding of certain details.

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