Hales: No money to avert teacher strike

A classroom in a Portland school (KOIN 6 News, file)
A classroom in a Portland school (KOIN 6 News, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In 2003, then-Portland Mayor Vera Katz helped avert a teachers strike by getting the City Council to raise $20 million by increasing the business license fee.

With the Portland teachers planning to take a strike vote next Wednesday, the question arose again: will the City of Portland step in at the last minute to come up with money to keep the teachers in the classroom?

The short answer is no.

“It would be very harmful to the quality of life in Portland if we had a strike,” Mayor Charlie Hales told KOIN 6 News Friday. But, “there really isn’t the potential for the city to step in. Our budget is better than it was, but there is no extra.”

Union leaders announced the vote for Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The district declared an impasse Nov. 20 with unresolved issues on class size, salary increase and early retirement incentives.

The district has 48,000 students and 2,900 teachers.

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