Teachers, district sign tentative deal; no strike

Credit: Ashley Korslien, KGW Staff

Teachers, district sign tentative deal; no strike

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by KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on February 18, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 19 at 8:27 AM

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Will teachers avoid a strike?

PORTLAND - The Portland Association of Teachers and the Portland Public School board signed an "official tentative agreement" on Tuesday evening.

The agreement suspended a looming teacher strike that had been scheduled to start in two days.

Students will however, still have an early release on Wednesday.

"We stuck it out. We got to an agreement which means we could avoid a strike and I think that speaks volumes for the intention of both parties," said PPS spokeswoman Christine Miles.

The agreement came after a 23-hour bargaining session that went through the night.

“After 10 months of difficult negotiations and hard work by both sides I am very pleased that PPS & PAT have reached a conceptual agreement. I look forward to finalizing the tentative agreement later today,” said PPS Superintendent Carole Smith earlier Tuesday.

The contract will now go to union members for final approval, which could take weeks.

The district had planned to send students home early on Wednesday and cancel classes through Monday, in the event of a strike.  Miles said the schedule will now return to normal on Thursday, with no closures.

"This is great news, and I remain as hopeful as ever that this will lead to a lasting agreement and a contract,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

During the many months of negotiations, teachers told KGW their biggest sticking points centered around wages and class sizes.

PPS has 48,000 students and 2,900 teachers.  A walkout would have been the first time in history for the state's largest school district.

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