Teacher’s strike reaches day 12; PPS says no chance of school until after Thanksgiving
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The Portland Association of Teachers held what they called ‘strike-a-palooza’ at PPS headquarters Thursday night.
Mary Darin, a speech-language pathologist with Portland Public Schools, was one of those who attended. She says the last two weeks have been a roller coaster.
“It’s really hard to be out of our classrooms,” Darin said. “It is hard for me to not be with my students, but this is super important.”
She says as an educator and a parent, things have to change.
“As a special educator, those caseloads have to come down because I cannot support all the kids that I want to,” Darin said. “As well as class-size caps. My daughter is in a class of 29. She says there’s no room in the class for everyone to come to the carpet together.”
Just before 5 p.m., Portland Public Schools announced there would be no school on Friday. And with schools already closed next week for the holiday and family-teacher conferences canceled, PPS says the next possible day to reopen schools would be Monday, Nov. 27.
The Portland Teachers Association says the “unfortunate” decision was made without conferring with their bargaining team, but that bargaining will continue and they are “hopeful that a fair settlement can be reached that would get students back to school and allow the first half of next week to be used as planning days or even possibly for student instruction.”
PPS responded to clarify they couldn’t open schools Monday and Tuesday as they had already planned down days for transportation and nutrition service workers due to scheduled parent-teacher conferences and were expecting lower attendance on those days.
As the strike continues, Darin remains positive.
“We believe in great public schools,” Darin said. “We want them to be the best in Oregon and we can do that.”
Full PAT statement on PPS announcement to close schools next week:
“Without conferring with the Portland Association of Teachers bargaining team, and in the middle of an otherwise productive bargaining day, PPS district managers made the unilateral decision to keep schools closed through November 27th. It’s unfortunate the district made this decision. Even though Monday and Tuesday are parent-teacher conference days, these count as instructional days. Portland educators plan to continue bargaining and are hopeful that a fair settlement can be reached that would get students back to school and allow the first half of next week to be used as planning days or even possibly for student instruction.”
Full statement from Portland Public Schools clarifying their initial announcement:
“We saw the statement from the Portland Association of Teachers regarding classes next week. I wanted to provide the message we sent to the community, and offer a critical clarification.
“Monday and Tuesday were already planned to be down days for our transportation and nutrition services workers because of family-teacher conferences. It is also true that we would expect lower attendance for those days because they were planned to be non-instructional days. Given this, we cannot open schools those two days even if we were to settle tonight, tomorrow, or over the weekend -- which we very, very much hope to.”
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