The hottest topic among Portland parents right now is: How long will the teacher strike last? Now that the Portland Association of Teachers has voted to walk off the job starting Nov. 1, which would close all 81 Portland Public Schools, families are scrambling to figure out what to do with their children while not knowing how many days they need to cover.
The two sides say they cannot predict how long a strike would last. “We simply have no way to estimate that,” says Will Howell, communications director for Portland Public Schools. “They call a strike—they call it off.”
The Portland Association of Teachers could not give a timeline either.
“The sooner the district steps up and agrees to provide what our students need, the sooner we will have an agreement, whether or not there is a strike,” PAT president Angela Bonilla says.
There is one last-ditch bargaining session that people are clinging to for hope that schools will stay open. The two sides and the mediator are still lining up their calendars to schedule the final meeting, but it will probably occur by the end of this week, Howell says.
Meanwhile, the private sector is willing to estimate strike dates, as it floods parents’ email inboxes with last-minute child care offers: Portland Reign Basketball Academy, for example, announced a basketball camp Nov. 1-10 at a Southeast Portland church for $250 to $350.(The school district says it will not provide any on-site student supervision programs during the strike, nor any day care or preschool.)
WW compiled data from recent teacher strikes in the region and across the country to give families an idea of what to expect.