Portland teacher strike stretches into Thanksgiving break
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Portland teachers and the school district were still at the bargaining table Friday, which means the strike is stretching into the Thanksgiving holiday break.
PPS parent Isabel Johnson and her son Everett have been going to the picket line every morning to support Portland teachers, which she said is a great reminder about how teachers are feeling and what they’re fighting for.
“I think everybody, like students, parents, teachers, wants the strike to be over,” Johnson said.
The latest update from Portland Public Schools said they’ve reached tentative agreements on four items including retirement and academic freedom and are still discussing items like pay and class sizes.
“When our teachers are talking about how they feel hopeful for the first time in 8 years, 12 years, 34 years for one teacher - it just again brings it back to me why this strike is ongoing and why it’s so important for them,” Johnson said.
Johnson, along with more than 1,700 parents and community members signed a letter to Governor Kotek asking her to help with funding. However, Johnson is optimistic they’ll reach an agreement before students could potentially go back to school Nov. 27.
“I feel 100% confident they are going to reach an agreement before then. I feel both sides are really motivated to reach an agreement,” she said.
But Shane Kennedy, another PPS parent, is frustrated with how long the process has taken.
“This is really disappointing and frustrating,” Kennedy said. “I really didn’t think it would go on this long now we’re looking at three-and-a-half weeks, best case scenario if school starts after Thanksgiving.”
FOX 12 first interviewed Kennedy back when the strike started. He’d said then that he was sending his two sons to their grandparents’ house in Arizona to help with childcare. He said Friday he’s hoping they’ll reach an agreement before the holiday break is over.
“They want school to start again, they ask me ‘Is school gonna start? What’s going on?’ and I just say ‘I don’t know,’ I don’t have an answer for them,” Kennedy said. “I am looking into whether I can find someone to work with them the week after Thanksgiving and beyond if school doesn’t start again.”
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