PORTLAND -- Dozens of frustrated parents held a rally Wednesday at Portland Public Schools headquarters in support of the teacher’s union.
The union and the district met with a mediator Tuesday and made agreements on 12 aspects of the contract, but parents said they want more for the teachers.
Protesters Wednesday morning held up signs asking for smaller class sizes and for the district to keep negotiating even after it declared an impasse last month.
Background: PPS declares impasse with teachers, strike looms
The district wants a longer school year, and longer days, but doesn't want to spell out class sizes in the contract. Teachers are asking for concrete class size numbers, better pay and to leave health care benefits unchanged.
“We want a good contract for the teachers that guarantees their working conditions,” said parent Chris Lowe. “Their working conditions are our children's learning conditions. So it's about protecting the classroom.”
“We would love to have an unlimited budget, we would love to be able to offer all our employees exactly what they want as far as money,” said spokeswoman Christine Miles of Portland Public Schools. “But again we're working with a set amount of money that's given to us every year by the state.”
Contract talks have been heated in the past, and teacher strikes have been threatened, but the contract is usually worked out at the last minute.
A state mediator is helping through this process.