School board votes to add teachers at emotional meeting

PORTLAND, Ore. - Strong emotions and a standing-room-only crowd weren't the only things out of the ordinary at Portland Public Schools board of directors meeting Monday night.

Extra security was there too.

Sheriff's deputies, police and school security officers, just in case things got out of hand.

This was a regular meeting of the school board, that was highly irregular.

Hundreds of teacher supporters took advantage of the meeting and public comment time to make their point about the state of the contract negotiations between the board and the teachers union.

The school board voted 6 to 1 to use millions of surplus dollars to pay for 30 more teachers.

That's not enough for teachers, who think overcrowded classrooms and heavy teacher work load are the main sticking points in negotiations.

Portland teacher Adam Sanchez made it very clear that he thought the money should be spent on teachers, and let the board know what could happen if it isn't when he said "No teacher wants to go on strike, we want to be teaching our kids, but if it takes going on strike to make you see that, then we're ready to walk."

The board voted to use the surplus money for teachers, and also adding classroom assistants, supporting athletics, and bringing back a student discipline program.

Monday's meeting was about the school budget, but not directly about the teacher contracts.

There is a contract negotiation meeting planned for this Friday.