PORTLAND, Ore. -- Contract negotiations in the Portland Public School District
have hit a major snag and a mediator is getting involved to help both sides reach an agreement.
The district will meet in the meantime next week in hopes of being able to settle with the 2,800 members of the Portland Association of Teachers
. If they can't, a mediator will be in place by early next month.
"Our goal is to reach a negotiated agreement that is in the best interests of Portland’s students. If we cannot make further progress in bargaining this month, we will ask a state mediator to join the talks, to help us find common ground with the association," said PPS Chief Human Resources Officer Sean Murray.
Negotiations began in April. State law requires both sides meet at the bargaining table for 150 days before a mediator is called in. The current contract ended at the end of June.
Teachers want an 11.5% pay raise over the next two years and another 3-5% for those with seniority. Also, salary and work load compensation that would cost the district an additional $250 million over the next two years, not including increasing healthcare costs and early retirement benefits. They also want teaching time reduced to five and a half hours per day or less, and be eligible for overtime if they meet with parents outside the regular hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm.
PPS says they've increased their salary offer to teachers in May and healthcare benefits in August. They want to change the hiring and placement rules to put the best teacher in each classroom, increase learning time and make it easier for students to get the courses they need, hire more teachers to reduce class sizes, protect time for parents to meet with teachers, and provide competitive increases in pay and health insurance in line with state funding.Read the proposals