Portland Public Schools leadership has begun pointing fingers at Salem as a way to resolve the teachers’ strike that shut down the city’s 81 public schools this morning.
“We need real investment from the state,” Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said at a news conference at district headquarters. “Oregon is not funding what it claims will provide Oregon students with a quality education.”
School Board Chairman Gary Holland was even more blunt. “The excuse of ‘I don’t have any more money’ is unacceptable,” Hollands said. “If you prioritize things, you will find money.”
Since 2020, PPS’s revenue has increased 9%, which is below the 18% inflation rate, Guerrero said. He said funding has not kept up with the needs of students and educators, noting that PPS enrollment has declined by about 4,000 students.
The demands of Guerrero and Dutch states for further state funding were significant. Just hours after the strike began, the district was essentially working with teachers to pressure state lawmakers and Gov. Tina Kotek.
This dynamic begins to explain why Kotek, a longtime ally of organized labor, was urging teachers to stay at the bargaining table. October 30: Wage increase demands finally land on her desk.
In response to questions from Monday’s KOIN6, Governor Tina Kotek said she is in contact with both PPS and PAT in negotiations. “I respect the collective bargaining situation that they are in in Portland Public Schools, and I look forward to the adults in the room coming together to solve problems for the children and families. ,” Kotek said.
She also essentially told me to stay away from kicker money.
“I think a lot of Oregonians are hurting,” Kotek said. “Inflation is having a big impact on people. We’re seeing numbers where people are drawing down more and more from their savings and the personal income tax cut that’s included in next year’s taxes is very important to Oregonians.”
Thousands of teachers walked picket lines in front of schools today, the first day of the Portland Teachers Association strike, raising awareness for the cause. As he sends the district’s 49,000 students home, the lack of a broader plan for learning and child care and no end in sight weighs heavily on Guerrero, he said. .
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” he said. “Today we want to make sure they are safe, supervised and cared for, and that they have access to nutrition.”
The district plans to provide meals to students on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the strike period.
Guerrero said the union’s current proposal would require $370 million in new spending and therefore significant cuts. These layoffs could mean fewer employees, larger class sizes, and fewer services for students, defeating the union’s stated purpose for the strike, which is to benefit Portland’s children. It will be done.
“We would like to work with educators to find solutions within fixed income and operational constraints, but we are unable to meet their core needs,” Guerrero said. Told. “Whether there’s a strike or not, that doesn’t change.”