Portland Public Schools moves to 4-day work week


District cites 'daunting financial forecast'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Public Schools announced it will move to a four-day work week, according to the district’s superintendent.

The adjustment is one of a few significant cost-saving measures PPS had made in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As with a pandemic of this magnitude, the state of Oregon faces a daunting financial forecast,” said PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero in a statement released Tuesday. “This will impact all school districts in the months and years ahead.”

The shortened week is scheduled to be formally approved by the district’s Board of Education and various labor partners Tuesday evening. According to Guerrero, the majority of district operations–such as virtual teacher-student instructional time–will take place Monday through Thursday. PPS would then be closed on Fridays through July 31, 2020.

Eliminating a day from the work week is considered a partial furlough, which means most PPS employees will participate in the Work Share Oregon program.

“We also know and anticipate that most employees will be eligible and benefit from federal CARES Act dollars,” Guerrero said. “This means that employees–especially our front-line staff–will have access to additional stimulus money to support them during this crisis, all while bringing much needed resources to our local economy and preserving limited, precious funding to our schools.”

Guerrero said he doesn’t anticipate the overall frequency or level of teacher-student contact to decrease with the shortened week. Instead, the reduced work week will be managed through reduced staff meetings and other non-student-facing activities.

Student meals will also be unaffected by the schedule change. Guerrero said the district’s nutrition services team will continue to provide extra meals to any child for the three-day weekend during Thursday’s pick-up.

Last week the superintendent directed the district to implement a hiring freeze and he put a strict restriction on travel and extracurricular purchases.

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