Portland teachers will hold a rally at 6:15 pm outside tonight's 7 pm Portland School Board meeting to pressure the district to reach agreement on a new contract.
The Portland Association of Teachers union, which represents about 3,800 educators in Portland Public Schools, has been without a contract since June 2008.
Since then, the district has asked teachers
to agree to five furlough days and no cost-of-living increases in the face of declining state funding due to the recession.
The stalled talks don't appear to be going anywhere just yet. In August, the school district asked state mediators to intervene.
Tonight's rally and School Board meeting will be interesting for two other reasons. It's Superintendent Carole Smith's first
since she returned to work last week after the death of her life partner in September. It also comes as PPS continues its talks about reforming high schools, which could be undermined by increasingly public displays of dissatisfaction from teachers.
Update on Tuesday at 2 pm: I'm reminded by PPS that they're asking teachers for five furlough days and no cost-of-living increases for the 2009-2010 school year, not the 2008-2009 school year.