PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Teachers, families, the community, and even national representatives showed up Wednesday to support Portland Public Schools teachers on the first day of their strike.
Now, the strike continues into its second day, once again canceling classes and it seems like there won’t be any more school for students this week with no bargaining session currently scheduled until Friday.
For PPS, they say the problem is that they can’t afford the $200 million that Teachers are asking for with Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero blaming state lawmakers for underfunding schools.
“All we have is inadequate funding from the state while working to produce, [and] improve outcomes and opportunities for our students,” said Guerrero.
Of the thousands who joined Wednesday’s picket, some showed up from across the country including Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, who called on PPS to do better.
“Our students see us standing up for them,” said Pringle. Our parents see us standing up for their children and the community is in full support of teachers using this mechanism to say Portland Public Schools, you can do better and you must do better.”
Gov. Tina Kotek posted a public statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating:
I continue to push for a resolution to the ongoing strike that delivers a fair contract for educators at Portland Public Schools.
I have asked Superintendent Guerrero to have members of the PPS school board join the mediation session this Friday to help refocus the conversation.
It’s going to take everyone working together to resolve this.
District and union leaders must make progress this week and I expect the district to take a hard look at its administrative costs and make adjustments to better support educators and their students.
However, parents are also coping with their kids being home for who knows how long. Just like in the pandemic.
“It almost has this little bit of a PTSD feel to it, because we all remember how traumatic it was,” said PPS parent Michelle Romanick. “And we didn’t know how long it was going to last, and kind of, this almost big curiosity of how long will this strike go on for?”
Students generally were not sent home with much, if any schoolwork, although the district says laptops were offered.
Instead, the Boys and Girls clubs in the Portland area are providing community-based programs that are usually on school campuses. These include academic, social, and emotional support, as well as food for club members impacted by the strike. As of now, they have space available but you need to contact them to be part of their programs.
As for more state money to help settle the strike, the governor and lawmakers right now are still saying no. They say if they do it for Portland, they would also have to do it for other districts.
But the biggest question students and their families are asking is, should the strike go on for a while, will school days be added to the academic calendar.
Teachers are not being paid while they are striking.