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PPS criticizes planned teacher strike vote

Portland Public Schools criticized the decision by the Portland Association of teachers to take a strike vote next Wednesday.

Negotiations between the district and the union have stalled over class size and other issues. A mediation session is scheduled for Friday.

“We are disappointed that PAT has taken a step closer toward a strike by scheduling a strike vote," PPS Chief Human Resources Officer Sean Murray said in a prepared statement. "A strike by PAT would be devastating to Portland’s students and families. A strike by PAT would undermine Portland’s schools, which are now gaining stability after years of state funding cuts."

A strike would be the first time teachers have walked out of classrooms in district history. 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.

"For more than 10 months, PPS has been working to reach an agreement with PAT. PPS has refrained from taking any immediate unilateral action to impose working conditions on our teachers. We continue to stay true to our commitment to reaching a settlement at the table. Tomorrow we will be in mediation with PAT, and we will continue to negotiate for an agreement that is in the best interests of Portland’s students,” Murray said.

KOIN News 6 contributed to this story.