Historic Portland teachers strike, negotiations continue into long weekend

Portland Public Schools (PPS) students won’t be returning to the classroom for the rest of the week.
Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 10:56 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Portland Public Schools (PPS) students won’t be returning to the classroom for the rest of the week.

Classes were canceled again on Thursday due to the teachers strike, and schools were already out to observe the Veterans Day holiday on Friday.

The teachers union and PPS were back at the bargaining table in person on Thursday, where both sides point to progress being made this week, but still no deal.

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The historic teachers strike in Oregon’s largest school district continues into its second week – impacting tens of thousands of students and thousands of teachers.

PPS superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero spent Thursday at the bargaining table with the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT). He said the conversations have been meaningful.

“I think today, our bargaining teams have been engaged in some significant conversations on some really important topics to both our teachers’ union as well as the school district,” Guerrero said.

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PAT president Angela Bonilla also shared an optimistic update of progress earlier this week at the PPS board meeting.

“Today, because of the board members at the bargaining table for the first time in about ten months, I felt like we finally had a breakthrough at the table,” Bonilla said. “It is unfortunate that we had to wait until about 40,000 students were out of school and about 3,700 educators were on picket lines for us to see that breakthrough.”

However, teachers said they’re standing firm on their demands for what they’re calling manageable class sizes and caseloads, fair compensation and safe schools.

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As for how much longer the strike will last? Until an agreement is reached. But first, the two parties said they need to settle the disagreement on the reality of the district’s finances.

“We’re going to take direction from our state-appointed mediator,” Guerrero said. “We’re prepared as we have been all along that probably means we’ll be back at it first thing tomorrow morning, all day tomorrow, if necessary.”

If a deal is reached over the weekend, Monday would be the earliest students could be back at school.