PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland teachers’ strike is now extending out past Thanksgiving. There was no school scheduled for students next week because of Thanksgiving break. Thus, there will not be class again until at least November 27.
Even so, bargaining was underway between the school district and the teachers’ union on Friday. While both sides say they are making progress in negotiations, there is still no deal over pay, class sizes and planning time. Many teachers are parents with their children missing school as well.
At the bargaining sessions behind closed doors, the union removed class size caps from their latest proposal. Primarily because the district said having firm numbers would require hiring more than 350 more teachers costing over $100 million over the next two years.
Instead, the union wants a higher pay bump for teachers than what they get now for each student above a certain number in their classroom — such as when there are more than 26 students in 1st through 3rd grade.
The strike is becoming a hardship for many families, with parents unable to work or forced to stay home for childcare, taking turns with other families to share taking care of the kids.
Nonetheless, teachers are standing strong, with many saying they need more help with numerous students who need extra support.
“More social, emotional, behavioral, to help the kids that are really struggling and support the kids in those classrooms to understand and support their peers,” said Heidi Wellington, an elementary school special education teacher who works with 33 students.
Additionally, parent-teacher conferences that were set for next week are postponed.