PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nearing the fourth week of the historic Portland teachers’ strike with no end in sight, families aired their frustrations after a marathon bargaining session yielded no deal.
While both sides continue to bargain, the district is already looking at ways to make up all those missed days and it could involve Christmas break.
Parents, grandparents, and other family members stood their ground, or in this case sat, as they hosted a sit-in at the Multnomah County building, hoping to reach PPS school board member and county commissioner Julia Brim-Edwards.
After a long night of negotiations, the teachers’ union says despite reaching a settlement between both sides, the district rejected it, something that frustrated families.
“It really feels like in the middle of the night, 4 a.m., Julia and a couple of other board members didn’t accept a deal that seemed like was a good deal,” parent Christopher Zimmerly-Beck said.
However, the district denies this and as a class-size cap is no longer on the table with a proposed compromise of letting parents on committees weigh in instead, some board members like Brim-Edwards say that won’t fly, citing student privacy concerns.
“We’re just not comfortable with parents making decisions for other people’s children,” Brim-Edwards said.
During the sit-in, some families continued their pleas for the strike to end.
“We have to work together, so for me, it’s just a connection to community. It takes a village,” grandparent Lynne Smouse Lopez said.
Meanwhile, outside, teachers continued to rally for a deal, urging the district to agree with some of the compromises proposed by the union.
“I’m feeling frustrated. We want to include our parents in the decision-making of our contract,” teacher Beyoung Yu said.
Now with a proposed plan for making up the lost school days, the district is looking at cutting out the first week of Christmas vacation to make up days, as well as tacking on days in June, but any plan would need to be agreed on by the union, which could mean even more bargaining to come, not to mention throwing a wrench in holiday travel plans families may already have.