PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There was no bargaining Monday in the ongoing Portland teachers strike, but both the Portland Association of Teachers and the Portland Public Schools said that is not a sign of trouble.
Bargaining is expected to resume on Tuesday, but once again PPS students will have another day without classes.
PPS officials released their latest offer on Sunday, which they said “is a significant offer, and it is not without trade-offs. Absent any new revenue, budget cuts will be unavoidable and we will need to implement significant cost-saving measures.”
Angela Bonilla, the president of the PAT, called the PPS proposal “unconscionable and it’s negligent. We’ve put forward cost-neutral proposals over the table that the district has rejected.”
Teachers, parents and students were back on the picket lines Monday in front of schools and the district office. Pay, planning time and capping class sizes are the main points of contention in the ongoing strike, which began November 1.
Parents who spoke with KOIN 6 News on Monday shared their stories of trying to challenge larger class sizes in the younger grades.
“My son had 35 kids in his classroom, which is too many third graders in one classroom,” parent Susannah Reece said. “And initially the district said that if they got up got to 34, that they would give us that third teacher back. And then they didn’t. And then we got to 35 and they still weren’t giving us that third teacher. And so we had to make our voices really loud.”
She said it was a big parent effort but they finally got another teacher once school was underway.
Teachers want the district to agree to class-size limits across the board. So far PPS said it can’t do that at all schools for a number of reasons. Among them are not enough space for more classes or, if there are a few kids over the limit, they might have to go to a different school.
The continuing negotiations mean there could be a deal at some point but PAT leaders told KOIN 6 News they are not hopeful the strike will end anytime soon.