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Teachers, administrators to resume contract talks Thursday

The cooling off period is over in labor talks at Oregon's largest school district.

Portland teachers and administrators are scheduled to sit down for direct talks on Thursday.

Now that the cooling-off period is over, Portland Public Schools no longer has to wait if board members want to move toward implementing the final contract offer. The Portland Association of Teachers could also vote to give a ten-day strike notice.

Neither side is showing any sign of taking those steps, though.

Instead they're emphasizing the tentative agreements they've reached on many elements of the contract. However, the stickiest issues remain unresolved.

They don't agree on workload, an umbrella term that includes how many students a teacher may be responsible for. The district wants to remove the old contract's limits. The union has proposed higher pay for teachers who have more students.

The union and district also lack agreements on health insurance, and how to handle teacher layoffs and transfers.

After direct talks on Thursday, the two sides meet with a mediator next Monday.