PORTLAND – Portland Public Schools and the teacher’s union went through another round of negotiations Monday, but still failed to reach agreement on a new contract.
The Portland Teachers Association also lashed out in a statement that accused the district of spreading misinformation to parents while the teachers keep teaching without a contract.
“Rather than agreeing to meet with us last week, the district sent us multiple emails that included ultimatums, strong-armed tactics and bullying behavior,” said PAT President Gwen Sullivan.
The district would not comment on the statement, but said it's trying to reach a deal soon and avoid a potential strike.
“Our goal, if we were to find ourselves in a position where there was a disruption, would be to keep schools open,” said Portland Public Schools spokesperson Robb Cowie. “Our primary mission is to educate students and that's our obligation to students and parents. But right now we are working on reaching a settlement.”
District officials said that teacher pay, the length of the school year and the hiring process are the remaining sticking points.
A mediator will work with both sides in the next negotiation session scheduled for Thursday.
Meantime, students and parents rallied Monday evening in support of teaches as contract negotiations continue between Portland Public Schools and the teacher’s union.
The rally took place outside the Blanchard Education Service Center at 501 N Dixon Street starting at 5:30 p.m. Students, parents, and teachers planned to march into the 6 p.m. school board meeting at the auditorium, according to members of the Portland Student Union.
Monday’s rally comes days after students walked out of class at Wilson and Jefferson high schools in support of the Portland Association of Teachers.
The flood of recent walkouts and rallies come amid contentious contract talks that come down to teacher pay.