President's Message: Use Your Voice, and Vote

There is a lot at stake this November, and in this time of crisis and uncertainty, it is crucial that we invest in supportive services for our community and in sustainable, living wage jobs to fuel our economic recovery.

Too many people are talking about this election as a time for tough choices—between schools, libraries, parks, public transit, and preschool—arguing that we can’t afford to invest in so much all at once. That will certainly be the message from corporations and the extremely wealthy who have continued to profit during this pandemic while low-wage earners have lost so much. 

We cannot allow these measures to be pitted against each other. I hope we all talk to our friends, neighbors, and family members to explain that we can’t afford NOT to invest in our community right now. Supportive services and living-wage jobs is our road OUT of the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. 

Recent events in Louisville, where a grand jury decided not to charge the officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor, also demonstrate why we cannot wait any longer for real police accountability. This November we can take a crucial step forward and implement policies that live up to our values and promote real community safety.  

Ballots will be mailed out the week of October 14. Please vote early, and spread the word about these important initiatives.

In Solidarity,


Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

VOTE to Invest in Our Values: PAT-Endorsed Ballot Measures

PAT is proud to endorse the following ballot measures on the November ballot which all play a part in building a more just, sustainable, and supportive city.

  •     Preschool for All Measure 26-214 has merged with the Universal Preschool for All campaign. The combined package will tax high earners in order to provide preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds in Multnomah County. The plan will also guarantee a living wage for all preschool teachers and assistants, and gives them the right to unionize.
  •     Multnomah County Library Bond Measure 26-211 will expand and modernize the library branches in the neighborhoods that need them most, and build a new flagship library in East County. 
  •     Portland Schools Bond: Measure 26-215 will invest in our schools with funds to modernize Jefferson High School, create the new Center for Black Student Excellence, update curriculum resources, and make needed safety and accessibility improvements.
  •     Let’s Get Moving: Metro Bond Measure 26-218 will improve 17 of our most dangerous and congested roadways, greatly improve public transit options, address climate and equity priorities, and provide free youth passes for everyone under 18.
  •     Portland Parks Levy Measure 26-213 will maintain our parks and natural areas and restore vital recreation services and community center offerings, while maintaining jobs.
  • The Real Police Accountability Measure 26-217will give our community a voice in police use-of-force incidents, ensuring that police live up to our community values. 

PAT PAC Candidate Endorsements  

The PAT PAC (Political Action Committee) is proud to endorse the following candidates in the November General Election:

Oregon State Legislature

HD 33: Maxine Dexter 

HD 36: Lisa Reynolds

HD 46: Khanh Pham

SD 21: Kathleen Taylor

Portland City Council Position 4: Chloe Eudaly

Metro Council District 5: Mary Nolan

The OEA PAC is proud to endorse the following candidates for state-wide races:

Oregon Secretary of State: Shemia Fagan

Oregon State Treasurer: Tobias Reed

Oregon Attorney General: Ellen Rosenblum

OEA Promising Practices Grant Opportunity

Every year, OEA gives Promising Practices Grants to educators to support student learning and professional development for OEA members across Oregon. This year, there is $2,000 available for grants to PAT members.

Grants can be used to fund projects or materials that support improved student achievement. The application is fully online this year and available here

Some examples of past projects funded by the Promising Practices Grant are:

  • A library of books with QR codes attached that link to a video of the book being read in ASL for families of students who are deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Purchasing Educational games to support positive student interaction.
  • Supporting Latinx students through a MECHA conference.


  • November 1, 2020 - Applications due. No late applications will be accepted.
  • December 2, 2020 - PAT IPD Committee will review grant applications from our Council members.
  • December 11, 2020 - Final decisions communicated to applicants.
  • December 14 - 18, 2020 - Grants for those awarded will be processed and distributed by OEA.
  • June 30, 2021 - Final grant summary due to OEA Center for Great Public Schools.

In the event that there are more funds requested than are available, IPD Committee will consider the following in determining how to disperse funds:

  • Is the grant requester a first-time applicant?
  • Does it serve a historically underserved population of students?
  • How many students will be positively  impacted?
  • Does it support an early-career educator?

Know Your Contract: Early Retirement, Benefits and Important Dates

During our last big contract negotiations, PAT protected what is called the “PERS Bubble” (officially called “Re-employment of Retirees”) and the Early Retirement Incentive. Both of those provisions are explained in detail in Article 15 of the PAT/PPS contract.

These benefits assure that educators are able to retire with dignity when they feel it’s time. They are benefits that all PAT members should receive, and they are benefits that we have all fought to maintain.

PERS Bubble

The PERS Bubble refers to the ability of a PAT member to officially retire under the PERS system during the middle of the school year, but work through the end of the year. This saves PPS money, as they no longer have to make PERS contributions for the educator who retires, because they are essentially “substituting” for themselves for the rest of the year. The educator’s earnings remain intact, PPS saves money, and the students have continuity of instruction. 

In order to be eligible for the benefit, a member must retire after November 30th, and provide the District with at least 30 days notice before their official PERS resignation date. For example, if a member wishes to retire at the start of Winter Break on December 19, 2020, they would need to submit the official District Resignation Form at least thirty days prior – approximately November 15th.

Early Retirement Incentive

For educators with at least 15 years of service, this benefit provides insurance contributions for the retired professional educator, and one-half the contribution to the cost of insurance for a spouse or domestic partner, for up to 60 months or until the professional educator becomes eligible for Medicare. The Early Retirement Incentive also provides a stipend of $425 per month, for up to 60 months. See all the details in Article 15 of our contract.

Notice-of-Retirement Stipend

There is a one-time stipend of $1,250 for any educator who gives written notice of retirement to the District prior to January 15th, and a stipend of $700 to any professional educator who gives written notice of retirement prior to February 15th.

To learn about the specific process for retiring from PPS, please review the district’s Q & A on retirement for PAT members here. And do not hesitate to contact the PAT office if you need more specific guidance. 

Insurance for Combined Part-time PAT and PAT Substitute Educators

Members should know their contractual rights and possibly save money each month.  Every year PPS employs a few educators who work a .5 FTE position and also substitute teach the rest of their workweek.  Those individuals have the unusual position of being in both PAT units, and work under both PAT/PPS contracts.

If you are one of those individuals, and you have earned insurance under the PAT Substitute CBA, you are entitled to select a health benefit package from either the PAT regularly employed unit, or the PAT substitute educator unit

Recently the PPS Benefits department informed .5 FTE educators who also earned substitute insurance that they could not select insurance under the substitute CBA.  That is absolutely incorrect.

The PAT/PPS CBA for regularly employed educators states in Article 13.1.6 “The District shall make a contribution of fifty percent (50%) of the composite rate for professional educators having a work schedule of fifty percent (50%) up to seventy-five percent (75%) of a full-time professional educator.”  In addition, Article 13.1.4 also states, “Professional educators may opt out of medical, dental, vision, prescription drug benefits, and additional life insurance.”

The PAT Substitute Educator CBA offers the same Kaiser and Providence Major Medical and Dental plans as the .5 PAT regularly employed benefit package, but the monthly cost per member is lower.  Keep in mind, there are additional benefits included under the regular PAT CBA, but if a PAT member only wants medical and dental insurance, and that member is eligible for insurance under both contracts, the substitute educator health plan is an option those members may select. 

If you are one of the PAT members who is eligible under both CBAs, contact the benefits department if you were denied the option to select either plan and let them know that you might want to make a change.    

Using Your Professional Development Funds

The PAT/PPS contract provides funds for professional development as well as tuition reimbursement. The Professional Improvement Fund allows educators to spend $1500 over three years for costs to attend a conference, provided it has a legitimate pedagogical purpose.

In our last contract negotiations, we ensured that these funds are also available to temporary teachers whose positions are expected to exist for more than 135 days.

You will need to follow these guidelines to access the Professional Improvement Fund. The District will also reimburse professional educators for tuition cost for up to six (6) non-cumulative hours in a 12-month period for which graduate credit is granted by a college or university. See the PAT/PPS contract for details and the PPS website for how to access your tuition reimbursement.

Know Your Contract: Overage Pay

The members of the Advocacy Committee would like to remind you to track your workload and student roster numbers.  Article 8.3.2 of the PAT Agreement has language that defines workload “thresholds” for class-size, teaching load, caseload, and the number of unique course preparations. This language requires overload pay for educators whose workload exceeds those thresholds. Overage pay for the first semester is based on workload levels on the third Monday in October (October 19, 2020).

Register Today: Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference

PAT is once again excited to sponsor the Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference! The annual gathering of conversation, idea-sharing, and inspiration is just a few weeks away.

Join us on Saturday, October 17th online. The cost is just $10 — $5 for students.

Register Now

The keynote talk this year — by Chenjerai Kumanyika and Demetrius Noble — is Revolutionary Public Education at the Crossroads of Race, Class, and COVID. 

In addition, there are more than 25 workshops lined up in 2 sessions. See the full program at

We hope you can make it!

Teaching With Purpose Zoom Conference on "What is an Anti-Racist Educator?"

Join us for the Teaching With Purpose Zoom Conference on "What is an Anti-Racist Educator?" October 9th (Inservice Day). PAT Racial Equity Committee will sponsor the first 13 educators to register! We would like to prioritize members of color and members wanting to continue working with the Racial Equity Committee and/or their school-based equity teams this year to move the work forward. Use this link to register. If all the PAT spots have been filled and you'd like to attend, OEA and PPS have also agreed to sponsor members! Your professional development funds can also be used to cover registration if neither of these options are available.