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Portland teachers’ union and school district sign tentative deal after weeks-long strike

By Melissa Alonso and Joe Sutton, CNN

(CNN) — Portland students will return to classrooms Monday after the Portland Association of Teachers signed a tentative agreement with Portland Public Schools on Sunday, ending a weeks-long strike that shut classrooms down, according to statements from both.

“This contract is a watershed moment for Portland students, families, and educators,” union President Angela Bonilla said in a statement. “Educators have secured improvements on all our key issues. These changes will make a huge difference.”

The strike was part of a wave of picketing across the country in recent months as thousands of workers went on strike, including Hollywood writers, nurses, factory workers and autoworkers.

Some of the top issues behind the Portland strike included compensation, student discipline, class size and the use of school resources to provide housing for students experiencing homelessness, CNN has reported.

The agreement includes “expanded language on target class sizes and caseloads,” as well as “new committees to discuss growing class sizes… and a guarantee of 410 minutes of protected planning time for educators at every grade level,” according to the teachers association.

“Additional gains include critical contract language that protects students and educators from unsafe building conditions like extreme classroom temperatures, and a 3-year cost-of-living adjustment that reflects the critical role that educators play in our schools and communities,” the association said.

Portland Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the Pacific Northwest, with more than 49,000 students across 81 schools, according to the district’s website. The union represents more than 4,000 certified educators in the district, according to its Facebook page.

“We are relieved to have our students returning to school and know that being out of school for the last three weeks – missing classmates, teachers, and learning – has been hard for everyone,” the school district said in a post on X. 

“We also want to express our deep appreciation for our educators, who are the backbone of our district, and who enrich the lives of our students,” the district statement added.

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