Will teachers avoid a strike?
PORTLAND – A Monday negotiating session between Portland Public Schools district and the Portland Association of Teachers ran all night Monday and continued into Tuesday morning.
"It's a good sign that we pulled an all-nighter and we're still there," said district spokeswoman Christine Miles.
If an agreement is not reached by Thursday, Portland teachers have said they will walk off the job. The district said it plans to send students home early on Wednesday, if necessary. Schools would then close to train substitutes on Thursday, Friday and the following Monday. Classes would resume on Feb. 25.
On Thursday, the union made a new proposal to the school district that brings them closer on salary increases. The union also has offered to make concessions on rules governing how teachers are transferred and on what role teaching qualifications play in the layoff process.
Supporters spent time making picket signs Monday as they prepared for what would be the first strike in the district's history.
Teachers told KGW their biggest sticking points center around wages and class sizes. They said they don't want to leave their classrooms or their students in the event of a strike, but they don't want to agree to a contract that falls short of their needs, either.
"This is very important because it’s what is going to be right for our children and what is going to be right for educators,” said teacher Todd Stewart-Rinier. “We are all in this together. We are supporting each other and we are figuring out a way to make this work.”
Portland has the state's largest school district with 48,000 students and 2,900 teachers.
If the strike starts, all extra-curricular activities will be canceled, including anyone who uses public school property for games, practices or events. However, big events, including the Franklin High School 100th anniversary will not be canceled.