Wednesday evening update: Will Howell, communications director for PPS, sent an email to reporters at 6:07 p.m. saying, “We expected to be able to share a statement with you at this point in the day, but we are not at a point where we can do that.” Board chair Gary Hollands posted in a Facebook group shortly after, saying there may be more information shared by 8 p.m.
Earlier story: The Portland Association of Teachers has been in touch with Portland Public Schools leaders since Tuesday night, and both groups plan to keep working on a deal throughout the day on Wednesday, as the district’s first-ever teachers strike hits the three-week mark.
According to a message PPS board chair Gary Hollands posted to a Facebook group, the two sides agreed not to share updates while bargaining Wednesday at the request of the state mediator.
The two sides came very close to a full agreement earlier in the week.
Union leaders said they felt the school board backed out of a deal that bargaining teams had reached. But board members said that was not the case, and that they were pushing back on a proposal related to involving parents on class-size committees. They said they want parents involved but not to have access to private student information.
The district has since proposed its own class-size committee plan, which the union didn’t accept.
The process has gotten messy. Board members have had their property vandalized. The union has continued to organize marches and rallies but says it doesn’t support vandalism.