PORTLAND Progress was made Thursday between Portland Public Schools and teachers amid contentious contract negotiations, according to Superintendent Carol Smith.

No contract was signed, but the Portland Association of Teachers presented a new mediation proposal to the district during the informal meeting.

The sides will meet again Sunday where PPS will respond with its own proposal, Smith said.

On Wednesday, Portland teachers were told to begin packing up their things from classrooms in preparation for a strike set for Feb. 20.

The district also filed a complaint with the state Employment Relations Board. PPS said by state law, the teachers union can't strike over class size.

On Thursday afternoon, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said he is optimistic a strike can be avoided.

So, stick with it. Keep putting the pressure on just like I m doing as a parent, He said. As somebody who loves Portland, each of us should say to both the PAT and the school board get this done. Be the adults in the room. Finish the job and ink an agreement.

For parents wondering what a strike would mean for their families, the district set up a multilingual hotline at 503-916-3260. Questions can also be submitted by email here.

More: What a Portland teachers strike would mean

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