PPS warns of possible school closure for teacher strike

Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 5:33 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - A teacher strike is a possibility in Portland Public Schools. The district sent a letter to parents last week preparing them for the potential of schools closing.

Parent Tim Faherty said he understands Portland teachers have challenges in school. But he would prefer they agree to a new contract with the school district as soon as possible.

“I feel like we’ve taken a pound of flesh out of these kids already,” Faherty said. “To continue to punish them for the challenges they’re having on contract negotiations that doesn’t seem right.”

Faherty was so concerned about his children missing in-person class time, his family moved to Georgia for two years during the pandemic. He doesn’t want a teacher strike to cause his Cleveland High School junior to miss even more.

“To leave them out for a week, two more weeks they’re just going to continue to fall behind,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Strike ends as Evergreen teachers vote in favor of agreement

The Portland Association of Teachers is asking for a 21.5% cost of living increase over three years, while the district is offering 10.3%. They also want more time to plan lessons, caps on class sizes and stricter discipline policies.

Daniel Enberg, who has a stepson at Abernathy Elementary School, said he doesn’t want him to miss class time.

“I know a lot of kids already missed so much school with (COVID-19) and they’re behind academically so that would be too bad,” Enberg said. “On the other hand, I always support teachers.”

PPS said it’s focused on “fair and sustainable” proposals that honor teachers. It doesn’t want to sacrifice student learning or be forced to close schools.

Enberg said he supports the teachers asking for a pay increase.

“It’s a hard job and we need to keep our teachers so we have veteran teachers working for PPS still,” he said.

In the letter to parents, PPS said a strike could happen in the fourth week of October.