More meetings, but no strike yet for Portland teachers

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Talks between the Portland Association of Teachers and the school board broke down toward the end of last week.

The reason? A new proposal by the union to hire 175 new teachers to help reduce class size.

The Board felt the proposal was too expensive and too late. Union leaders were frustrated with that reaction.

"I would say we financially told them how they could do it. It's not saying, we weren't micro managing, This is how you should do it. But they have the money and so we were showing them how they could do it," said PAT President Gwen Sullivan.

Still, there are other sticking points that are keeping a deal at bay. They include retirement, workload and length of the school year.

During their meeting, the union will be pre-assessing the possibility of a strike. Still, the Oregon Education Association has rules they have to follow as they discuss the steps toward a strike. They must have at least two assessment meetings, and give 10 days notice before any walkout.

That's good news for many parents in the district who have expressed concerns about what to do with kids during a strike.

The School Board will be holding its regular meeting Tuesday night, and members have said they will not be voting on the contract, although that vote could come at any time.

This is the first week in nine months of negotiations that there has not been a meeting scheduled between the two sides. The union is hoping to hear something from the board later Tuesday.