PORTLAND -- As the union continues to negotiate with Portland Public Schools for a new contract, classes will resume as normal Monday, when students return from winter break.

The two sides still must come to an agreement over teachers' workloads and health insurance for a two-year contract.

Deborah Barnes, the Region 1 Vice President of the Oregon Education Association told KGW Thursday afternoon that the current negotiation session will be extended through Monday, if needed. And in the meantime, teachers plan to stay on the job.

We will do whatever we need to keep the lines of communication open, Barnes said, speaking on behalf of the state and Portland teachers unions.

Officials said if the teachers were to decide to strike at a later date, they would give a minimum 10 days notice. That way, students' parents would have time to plan ahead for childcare.

We just want the parents and the community to know that kids are going to be fine, that classrooms are going to go on as scheduled and we're going to continue to negotiate, said PPS spokeswoman Christine Miles.

Contract under negotiation since April

The teachers union and district have been trying to iron out the contract since April. Both sides said they've made progress over the last few weeks.

The district revealed specific details of its last offer in late November. That deal included 6 to 17 percent raises over three years, along with longer school days and three extra class days added to the school schedule.

PAT leaders complained at the time that the proposal also called for removing caps on class sizes and possibly slashing teachers' preparation time - two issues they found especially concerning.

Background: Teachers, PPShit impasse in Nov.

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