Portland Public Schools teachers close to settling new contract

At 3 a.m. this morning — after five straight days of mediation — Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) and Portland Public Schools (PPS) reached agreement on a framework for a contract settlement.

“Significant details remain to be formalized, but we hope to finalize a tentative agreement by Thursday afternoon,” the PAT bargaining team said in its announcement of the deal,  expectation that the two sides would finalize a tentative agreement by Jan. 16 (after this issue went to press.)

Teachers have been working without a contract since the previous contract expired June 30, 2016. That contract was settled  Feb. 18, 2014, two days before a teacher strike was set to begin.

Bargaining this time started out amicably, but was complicated by tremendous turnover in district administration. Carole Smith was superintendent when the talks began. Last October, three interim leaders later, Guadalupe Guerrero was installed as superintendent.

Workload, safety, and compensation issues have been the sticking points in bargaining. PPS teacher pay rates are near the bottom of the 14 metro-area districts.

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