Was Portland's mayor right to get involved with contract talks between PPS and teachers?
PORTLAND -- Teacher representatives canceled a meeting with the school district scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday morning, signaling that a conclusion to contract talks may still be far away despite urging from Portland's Mayor.
As first reported in The Oregonian, the Portland Association of Teachers canceled an informal Thursday meeting between the union and Portland Public Schools.
Recent teacher contract negotiations have dragged on for weeks and brought the union to the brink of a strike that could impact tens of thousands of Portland families.
A representative with the Oregon Education Association told The Oregonian the meeting had been canceled because the district had violated the groups trust and that teacher representatives believed the meeting would be confidential.
The event casts doubts that productive talks can be resumed even a day after the Mayor of Portland held a meeting with teachers union president Gwen Sullivan and District Superintendent Carole Smith.
Hales has been in touch with both the district and the teacher's union about the negotiations, said School District spokesman Rob Cowie.
The mayor spoke on OPB's talk show, Think Out Loud Wednesday and told listeners he was invested in seeing the negotiations succeed even though the city has no official power over the issue.
"My role is to lead the city toward a better future," Hales said."That includes great public schools, because we're one of the few cities in the United States where a broad majority of the whole community, of all incomes, sends their kids to public schools."
In the hours following the Wednesday meeting, Hales was under the impression his intervention was helping.
"I think its having a positive effect," Hales told OPB listeners. He said he hoped he didn't have to "invade their turf anymore."
It was unclear when the district and union representatives would meet next.