Thursday, October 19, 2023
Contact: Samantha Winslow
Phone: (971) 373-7584
Email: [email protected]
Press Conference to announce results of Portland Educators strike authorization votes.
Where: PAT Headquarters, 345 NE 8th Ave, Portland.
When: Friday, October 20, 10:00 a.m.
PAT will announce the results of strike authorization votes in a press conference at PAT headquarters, at 345 NE 8th Ave, Portland. Members have been voting at their school sites and at the PAT office regarding authorize a strike after almost a year of bargaining. Portland Public Schools management has been unwilling to respond to increasing student needs in Portland’s schools while stockpiling resources that should be going directly to serve students.
PAT leaders continue to urge PPS to shift its budget to increase funds that go toward student-centered priorities, outlined in PAT bargaining proposals. In yet another bargaining session this week, PPS failed to bring any serious proposals that would benefit students. Meanwhile PPS revealed in previous sessions that it has an additional $16 million available in recurring state funds to add to its budget but would not yet put it towards a settlement with Portland educators that would offer more mental health support and smaller class sizes for students.
“PAT educators are standing up for Portland students by taking strike votes this week. Our students deserve safe buildings, smaller class sizes and added mental health specialists, and educators won't give up until we for our students.” Angela Bonilla, PAT President.
PPS’ most recent financial reports show the district cut educators while growing administration and has let its general fund increase to $105 million to start the 2023-24 school year. Oregon Department of Education data shows Portland spends less of its overall budget on support for Portland classrooms than other large districts, spending 8% less than Beaverton last year. If district leaders realign the PPS budget, as a state audit has directed them to, that would free up millions of dollars redirected towards meeting student needs and settling this contract.
“As an educator and parent of two kids in Portland Public Schools, I’m frustrated by class sizes that are too big! In my 3rd grade class, I have 31 students in a classroom, when a few years back there were 23 students. More students mean more needs to address, more hours of prepping, more hours on the phone with parents, and less time with each kid. There isn’t enough room in the classroom, so I have to turn a heater into a desk. I use bookshelves and stools to make seats. I have kids sitting on the windowsill.” Tiffany Koyama Lane, educator, Sunnyside Elementary School.
“My 5th grader loves school and I want that to continue. As a parent and volunteer at my son’s school, I see our teachers working hard every day to support our students. Post pandemic, so many kids need extra support, whether it’s for stress, anxiety, or special education support. I support PAT educators and their fight because our kids need smaller class sizes and more mental health specialists.” Isabel Johnson, parent at Glencoe Elementary School.
To interview PAT officers, educators, and PPS parents, contact Samantha Winslow.
The Portland Association of Teachers (www.pdxteachers.org) is the largest teachers’ union in Oregon,. Members of PAT are demanding safe, properly maintained and fully resourced schools in every neighborhood.