PPS Labor United Against Cuts

The workers of PPS are united in opposition to the unnecessary and harmful staffing cuts that PPS announced last week.

The following letter was sent today to PPS leaders, from DCU, SEIU, PFSP, PAT, and ATU. 

February 25, 2022

Dear Superintendent Guerrero, Deputy Superintendent Proctor, Chief of Staff Garcia, Board Chair DePass, Board Directors Scott, Kohnstamm, Greene, Hollands, Brim-Edwards, and Lowery, and Student Director Weinberg,

The workers of Portland Public Schools are united in our opposition to the needless and damaging staffing cuts that PPS is imposing on schools.

Last week, schools were informed of staffing cuts, including at least 120  teachers. 

These cuts will harm students and destabilize school communities.  Elementary schools across the district are seeing 65 teaching positions cut,  creating  class sizes as high as 33. Middle schools, which have struggled this year to maintain safe and supportive learning environments because of increased level of student need, are collectively losing at least 30 teachers. Across the district, school communities will be losing beloved educators and staff who want to stay.

During a time of unprecedented student need, PPS is reducing the number of educators and staff who provide direct service to our students. 

To be clear, there is absolutely no financial reason to make these cuts. PPS will have more funding than we have ever seen. This funding includes:

  • A projected INCREASE in per-pupil funding for the state school fund.
  • A projected OVERALL increase from the state school fund, even taking enrollment decline into account. 
  • An INCREASE in funding from the Student Investment Account, providing  PPS with $38 million for next school year. 
  • Continued funding from the Teacher Levy and the Arts Tax, providing PPS with $100 million
  • $112 million in ESSR federal relief funding which must be used by 2024

With the combination of all these funds, PPS should be investing in our students by dramatically reducing class sizes and caseloads and improving services to students. Instead, PPS is cutting resources from schools,  in a system that is already stretched beyond the breaking point. 

Along with improving class sizes, we can also use this opportunity to prioritize stability, safety,  to make next year meaningfully better for our students. 

  • Offer competitive wages to our custodians, nutrition workers, bus drivers, paraeducators, education assistants, and maintenance workers, so we can recruit and retain staff, and stop wasting money on contractors.
  • Increase custodial staff to better maintain our schools and give our students a safe and healthy school environment. 
  • Add Education Assistants and Paraeducators, to ensure that  students who need it can get individual attention. 
  • Invest in school bus drivers and infrastructure, in the short -term to stop relying on sub-contracting to cab companies,  and for the long-term to bring back all school bus drivers under the direct employment of the district.           

Our students deserve a district that puts safe, stable learning environments, and direct services to students FIRST.


Jenna Bazner, IBEW LU48 Business Rep, President of the District Council of Unions

Jason Mcleod, Co-Chair of SEIU 503, Local 140

Amy Silvia, Ci-Chair SEIU 503, Local 140

Dustin Hysmith, Business Representative SMART, Local 16

Michelle Batten, President, Portland Federation of School Professionals (PFSP)

Elizabeth Thiel, President, Portland Association of Teachers

Shirley Block President ATU 757

Bob Tackett, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, NW Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Ira Erbs VP of Political Action AFT - Oregon , member PCCFFAP 2277

Ariana Jacob, Executive Council Co-Chair, PSUFA AFT-Oregon Local 3571 

Laura Wadlin, Secretary of PCCFFAP (AFT Local 2277)

Jodi Barschow, OFNHP President, Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, OFNHP-AFT Local 5017