PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With only two days left until teachers in Oregon’s largest school district go on strike, Gov. Tina Kotek revealed her office is working behind the scenes to help reach an agreement.
On Monday, officials with the Portland School District and Portland Association of Teachers continued to hold contract talks after the teachers union formally announced their notice of intent to strike on Nov. 1.
During a Central City Task Force press conference on Monday, Kotek said her office is having behind-the-scenes conversations with both sides to “provide direction and suggestions,” but added it’s up to the district and union to figure it out and not leave bargaining sessions without a deal.
When asked by KOIN 6 News why the wait before a strike begins, Kotek said, “I respect the collective bargaining situation that they are in Portland Public Schools, and I expect the adults in the room to come together and figure it out for the kids and their families.”
The governor also said she expects PPS will put more money on the table, but not hundreds of millions of dollars more for salaries, smaller class sizes and more planning time.
When asked as to whether some of the state’s collected income tax money that’s slated for the kicker tax credit could be used, Kotek said that many state residents are looking at next year’s kicker tax credit as income tax relief.
“I think a lot of Oregonians are hurting,” she said.
KOIN 6 News confirmed the Portland School Board intends to formally ask the governor and lawmakers to provide more money. In a statement to KOIN 6 News, the Portland teachers union said “Our bargaining team is working overtime to try and negotiate a strong, student-centered contract.”
Contract negotiations continue on Tuesday ahead of Nov. 1’s intended strike date.