Today your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS management for our 10th bargaining session. District Management gave us an updated Article 12 Compensation Proposal eliminating the year A step (first row of salary scale) which will raise starting salaries for new educators who join PPS. However it would do nothing to increase salaries for currently employed educators and leave those at the top of the scale near the bottom of comparable districts. If you wish to recruit AND RETAIN educators, under paying your most experienced staff is not the way to do it.
They increased their proposal for a Cost of Living Adjustment from 2.5% to 3% each year of the contract; a minor improvement that is still far below the actual increase to our cost of living, and does nothing to make up for the erosion of our salaries that we have suffered over the past two years. PPS paid an average of a 6% COLA to administrators; Why should professional educators settle for less?
Additionally, they have refused to make up the ground we lost on PERS. Take a look at the PERS statement you have just received in the mail to see the actual dollars you have lost so far. To make matters worse, their proposal also does not cover the cost of the new Paid Family Leave Insurance law and the 0.6% of salary out-of-pocket costs that will be incurred for employees (effectively resulting in a pay cut).
Later in bargaining, we were joined by over 100 educators in blue who watched the parties discuss Article 7 (Work Day, Planning Time), and Article 8 (Workload, Class Size). We are concerned that we continue to be given false choices by the District. For example, we were told that an increase in instructional time would come at the expense of instructional minutes. There seems to be no regard to the quality of instruction and the amount of time it takes to prepare for quality instructional minutes (unless you work for free). We are being told that our class size caps would destroy the equity staffing model. We believe it would enhance equity. We need small class sizes for EVERY student, and even more support for those historically underserved. News articles about West Sylvan, as Thea shared, are proof that our west side schools need support as well and not at the expense of other students.
If you are interested in getting involved, please join our first Contract Action Team meeting, 4:30, this Thursday at the PAT Office (345 NE 8th Ave, RSVP). We will be bargaining with the District again on Monday, June 5 at the PAT office, starting with the District at noon. Bargaining is always open to members and the public. We hope you will join us and continue to fight for the contract our students and teachers deserve.
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Portland Association of Teachers