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Portland school district and teachers union reach tentative deal

PORTLAND, Oreg. (NBC, KYMA/KECY) - Nearly four weeks into a teacher's strike that has shuttered Portland public schools, the school district and the teachers union have reached a tentative deal.

After one month on the picket lines, it's no longer the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) who are shouting, but also the parents.

"I was like, 'School's back tomorrow,' and they were both like, 'Yay!' Very, very excited," said Laura Mertins, a parent.

Portland Public School (PPS) students are going back to school.

"We're excited. We're excited to see teachers...We're excited to be back in the classrooms," said Jazzmin Reece, another parent.


Both the district and the union announced Sunday night they reached a tentative agreement.

"This right now is a historic win for our students our families and our educators," said one union member.

The contract ends long-standing disputes over wage increases, planning time and class sizes.

"If they didn't go back yet, it would have been another really rough week. So, I am very thankful they came up with an agreement," said Christi Smith, a parent.

Readjusting to life on a set schedule

The strike started on November 1, and students missed 11 days of instruction. Now, families will once again readjust to life on a set schedule.

"My kindergartener had just started at a brand-new school and she's going to basically have to adjust to that all over again. So, I think we all wish it could have happened much faster," said Anna Campbell, another parent.

Campbell has two elementary school students and she's hopeful that the new agreement will improve her children's education.

"I think that if our kids get a better education and if our teachers are able to provide what is needed in the classroom then of course it's worth it. Was the impact of three weeks off of school easy on our children? No," Campbell shared.

Other parents, like Reece, say they hope this strike is a wake-up call and Oregonians demand more state funding for public schools.

"Parents need to come together. The general public, voters need to come together and be very strategic about changing the funding system here in Oregon," Reece expressed.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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