No resolution to Portland teachers strike despite talks through the weekend

By Joni Auden Land (OPB)
Nov. 20, 2023 3:08 a.m.

Portland Public Schools and the Portland Association of Teachers discussed class sizes and planning time over the weekend, but no deal was reached.

Students supporting the Portland Association of Teachers listen to peers talk about classroom conditions. The students were protesting outside the Portland Public Schools district headquarters in North Portland on Nov. 15, 2023.

Students supporting the Portland Association of Teachers listen to peers talk about classroom conditions. The students were protesting outside the Portland Public Schools district headquarters in North Portland on Nov. 15, 2023.

Tiffany Camhi / OPB

The weekend wrapped up with no resolution on the teachers strike at Portland Public Schools, which has now canceled more than two weeks of school.

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PPS and the Portland Association of Teachers held negotiations throughout the weekend, but no deal was reached. Nor was any major movement announced on either side.

The strike, therefore, continues. Students have been out of school for most of November, with 11 canceled school days and two canceled days of parent-teacher conferences that were scheduled for the upcoming Monday and Tuesday.

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Students were already slated to be out of class all this coming week due to the Thanksgiving break. District officials announced last week that parent-teacher conferences would be canceled, saying educators would have too little time to prepare even if an agreement had been reached.

The two sides spent much of the weekend negotiating on two key issues: class sizes and planning time.

As of last week, PPS had expressed concerns about the high cost of the union’s proposal for smaller class sizes.

Related: PPS, union focus on class sizes and caseloads as smaller agreements emerge

Both sides have indicated they intend to be available to work with a mediator toward a settlement.

Over the past week, union and district negotiators have indicated the two sides have found common ground on some less contentious parts of the teachers’ contract related to retirement, extended responsibilities and academic freedom.

But they remain at odds over core issues with the greatest potential costs, such as educator workloads and planning — which officials say were main topics of discussion this weekend — as well as teacher compensation.

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