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PORTLAND The Portland Association of Teachers announced Tuesday morning that overnight negotiations failed to resolved contract differences with the Portland Public Schools district.

Talks will resume at an unspecified time later this week. The stalemate comes after 21 straight hours of bargaining.

We put in a lot of hard work, but we weren t able to get there yet, union president Gwen Sullivan said in an email. From the beginning of this contract bargain, and every day in school buildings across this city, Portland teachers have been fighting for the schools our students deserve. We won t give up.

District spokesman Robb Cowie expressed disappointment and said, We felt we were close.

Portland Public Schools students returned to classes Monday after winter break.

PPS teachers and the district began round-the-clock talks Monday to avoid a teacher s strike. The teachers have been working without a contract since June.

The two sides were arguing over issues that include teacher workload, class size and health insurance as part of a new two-year deal.A state mediator was attending the negotiations.

On Sunday, PPS superintendent Carole Smith sent a letter home to district parents, addressing the possible strike.

It s time for us to reach a settlement and conclude these negotiations, so everyone can stay focused on educating our students, Smith s letter read.

Smith said she had her fingers crossed for a quick resolution.

If the teachers do decide to strike, officials say they will have to give at least 10 days notice before walking out.

Background: Teachers, PPS still negotiating new contract

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