Why More Money Won’t Solve the Problems in Portland Public Schools

By John A. Charles, Jr.

At the Portland Public Schools board meeting in late November, the Portland Association of Teachers and the school board members were united on one issue: They all blamed the state legislature for the teachers strike. However, parents should be aware of the following sections of the new PPS contract:

  • “Bargaining unit members who participated in the strike will receive their full pay for November 2023 and the remainder of the 2023-2024 contract year….” (Page 2, paragraph N)
  • “All bargaining unit employees will receive all fringe benefits provided by the collective bargaining agreement as if the bargaining unit members worked continuously and no strike had occurred….” (Page 3, section 5)
  • “Student behavior is an expression of unmet needs, and makes sense when put in context. The disciplinary response process should be aimed at meeting these needs and create an environment that helps students find new ways to meet their needs. With this belief PPS will begin to move from exclusionary discipline to Restorative Practices for all Pre-K to 12 grades.” (Article 9)

If teachers get paid for not working and there is no student discipline, more money from the legislature won’t solve the district’s problems.

John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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