PORTLAND - The Portland Association of Teachers and the Portland Public Schools signed an "official tentative agreement" on Tuesday evening. The agreement suspended a looming teacher strike scheduled to start in two days, according to statements made by the Portland Association of Teachers.
Students will however, still have an early release on Wednesday.
"We stuck it out. We got to an agreement which means we could avoid a strike and I think that speaks volumes for the intention of both parties," said PPS spokeswoman Christine Miles.
The agreement came during a 23-hour bargaining session that went through the night.
“After 10 months of difficult negotiations and hard work by both sides I am very pleased that PPS & PAT have reached a conceptual agreement. I look forward to finalizing the tentative agreement later today,” said PPS Superintendent Carole Smith earlier Tuesday.
PAT first announced the deal on its Facebook page around 8 a.m. Here is part of that post:
"Given that the teams have been bargaining for 23 straight hours, we will come back together later today to iron out the details and put it in writing in the form of a Tentative Agreement. When we have a signed Tentative Agreement, the strike will be suspended pending ratification by PAT membership and the Board."
Miles explained upon signing the tentative agreement the strike will be suspended and the contract will go to union members for final approval.
All this could take weeks but students will be able to go to class with their usual teachers in the meantime.
The district had planned to send students home early on Wednesday and cancel classes through Monday, in the event of the strike that was set to start on Feb. 20. Miles said students will still go home two-and-a-half hours early on Feb. 19.
"This is great news, and I remain as hopeful as ever that this will lead to a lasting agreement and a contract,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
During the many months of negotiations, teachers told KGW their biggest sticking points centered around wages and class sizes.
PPS has 48,000 students and 2,900 teachers. A walkout would be the first time in history for the state's largest school district.