PORTLAND, Ore- It has been almost a solid year of negotiations and Wednesday night at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, teachers made the vote to strike.
The vote was nearly unanimous, 98% of the teachers voted in favor.
Dozens gathered outside chanting there support while teachers made there vote. They will officially notify the district later Thursday of there intent to walk out February 20th.
District superintendent Carole Smith says “I’m really disappointed that the teachers union called for a strike, even as we’re actively in mediation.”
Both sides plan to meet on Sunday to continue trying to reach an agreement.
So what are teachers and the district still fighting over?
There are three main sticking points starting with class sizes. The district says the average class room size is 24, but teachers claim the average is actually higher.
Another sticking point is the length of the school year. The district wants to add three days, however the teachers only want that added to low-performing schools.
And lastly is salary. The district is offering teachers a 2% increase each year for the next three years. The teachers want more.
The teachers union in Portland represents 2,900 educators. The district has nearly 48,000 students.
In support of teachers, Franklin High students are planning a walkout. They plan to march to the more visible Division Street at 12:20pm. Avery Bloch is the student union member who organized the walkout. He says “To be honest I think it will morally support them. Teachers at school who talked to me today were impressed with the idea. My English teacher and all my teachers that I have a huge amount of respect for were very happy and like to know we care about it too,” Bloch told KXL.