It is the first teacher strike in the history of Portland Public Schools, and it is unclear how long the strike will last. Teachers will be unpaid during the strike.
At Roosevelt High School, thousands showed up for a rally to kick off the strike despite the downpour. Parents, students and other supporters joined hundreds of teachers and the national head of the teachers’ union to urge the fight for pay and better learning environments.
Meanwhile, the school district superintendent and board members say they can’t find the $200 million teachers are seeking without teacher layoffs and other cuts.
Angela Bonilla, the head of the teachers’ union, said she believes the district has the money.
“We have made it clear that there are ways for them to fund these proposals,” Bonilla said. “We have shown them that money, and we have to wait for them to make the right choice.”
But the governor and lawmakers are so far not willing to find more money for schools after giving a record $10 billion statewide.
“We wouldn’t be in this predicament had the legislative session gone differently this last time around. We have to make due with the means we have under our control,” PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said. “We’re going to take every measure, find every deficiency. We’re certainly going to do our share here to do our part.”
Picket lines will be back up again tomorrow at the 81 Portland schools, with another bargaining meeting set for Friday. Both sides confirmed to KOIN 6 that they will attend.
Dr. Renard Adams with PPS said they need to focus on compromise.
“We know our proposal on the table right now will require budget cuts this year and future years and we know that every dollar we increase will require more cuts,” Adams said.
Stay with KOIN 6 as this story develops.