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PPS, teachers take a break after marathon bargaining sessions

After a marathon 21-hour bargaining session on Monday, Portland Public School teachers and district officials have yet to come to a resolution on the teachers’ contract — but they're still trying.

“We put in a lot of hard work, but we weren’t able to get there yet,” says Gwen Sullivan, president of the Portland Association of Teachers. “From the beginning of this contract bargain — and every day in school buildings across this city — Portland teachers have been fighting for the schools our students deserve. We won’t give up.”

In recent weeks both sides have met for more than 100 hours negotiations.

Says Superintendent Carole Smith: "Both sides have had open, honest and productive discussions about the key issues that we all care about: adding more teachers in schools to lower class sizes, adding school days, hiring the best teachers for our schools and providing Portland’s teachers with competitive pay and benefits."

Negotiations have been underway for nine months.

A state mediator has been assisting since October; the district declared impasse in November; the union filed an unfair labor practice against the district in December; parents and teachers have rallied.

The two sides agreed to take a break and reconnect later this week.