Portland parents struggle with cost of childcare as teacher’s strike wraps up third week
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - As the historic Portland Association of Teachers strike continues for a third week, money is top of mind for many families who were not prepared to shoulder the cost of extra childcare.
Parent Jacky Tran told FOX 12 that her daughter in 3rd grade had felt the impacts of COVID when she was not able to attend school in the classroom, and this year, she was starting to rebuild her confidence in her schooling with the teacher’s strike began.
“That was heartbreaking for her to feel like okay, I know what I’m doing, and now I can’t be in school anymore,” Tran said.
Other costs, though, were unexpected.
Between camps, babysitters, and tutors, Tran and her husband have spent more than $1,500 over the past few weeks.
She said the cost of childcare this past week alone was $660; a cost she said is unsustainable for her family.
“We can’t afford to do this for very long,” Tran said. “My husband and I freelance, we don’t have salaried jobs, and so right now it’s like things are good, but we always have to be prepared for the fact that we might not find another gig for a little while.”
Other parents who spoke to FOX 12 over the phone shared similar experiences, saying the extra cost has caused more stress and uncertainty in their lives at a time of year when financial pressure is already high.
“It’s like we’re trying to see what happens with the strike to see how big or medium or small we go with the holidays,” Tran said.
She supports the cause of the teachers and she hopes they receive what they need, but she said if things continue for too long, they may consider private school for their daughter and re-arrange their lives even more.
“We would have to completely re-assess a lot of how we budget, conduct our day to day lives, just so many things,” Tran said. “It’s been really hard to figure it out.”
Bargaining continued all day Thursday between teachers and the district, and no agreement has yet been reached.
As of Thursday, teachers are no longer eligible for health benefits starting December 1st, as they worked fewer than half the days they were contracted for this month.
Portland Public Schools confirmed Thursday that the first day students could potentially be back in the classroom is November 27th, as classes are already out next week for the Thanksgiving holiday.
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