PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With a strike deadline of November 1 looming — that’s Wednesday — Portland teachers, staff and parents held a rally and march along the downtown waterfront Saturday.
Hundreds attended the rally and march that went across the Burnside Bridge.
Darshanpreet Gill, who teaches at McDaniel High School, said teachers are invested in the process and so are other people.
“We are invested and people have seen that and now they are here for us. The commitment is the same — it’s to the kids,” Gill said. “Whatever we need to do to get the kids what they deserve.”
Negotiations between the Portland Public School District and the Portland Association of Teachers continue. Officials said they’ve made progress on special education at the bargaining table.
“We want to be able to have wages that allow us to live in the communities that we serve, and attract and retain quality educators and diverse educators,” said PAT President Angela Bonilla. “We want the planning time to give the students the feedback they deserve on the work so they can continue to grow.”
But when it comes to pay, planning time and class sizes, the sides are still far apart.
Dr. Renard Adams, the Portland Public School Chief of Research, Assessment and Accountability, said the proposal would be too expensive.
“We have fixed revenue and a strike will not change that,” Adams said. “PAT’s proposal will require $277 million in cuts over the next 3 years. This is without including the 500 new educators we would need to hire under the union’s proposed hard class cap.”
Adams said the district “increased our compensation offer four times. They have not moved from their initial proposal. We need compromise in order to find solutions.”
If there is a strike — which would be the first-ever for the district — the Portland school buildings will be closed.
The district is trying to find space where nonprofits that usually provide before- and aftercare on-site will be able to operate with extended hours.
KOIN 6 News will have more information later.