PORTLAND, Ore- Close to 500 Portland Public Schools teachers and their supporters took to the Burnside Bridge Friday night to show their frustrations with ongoing contract discussions that have lasted more than 200 days.
They lined both sides of the bridge, stretching from one end to the other. They carried signs and waved banners as many drivers honked in support as they passed by.
Gwen Sullivan, the president of the Portland Association of Teachers, says they are most concerned with a potential increase in class sizes.
"Our hope was to actually work together with the district to figure out how we could lower class sizes and lower these numbers, because the most important thing we know is the relationship between student and teacher," Sullivan said.
But the district says they aren't the ones to blame.
Robb Cowie, a spokesman for Portland Public Schools, says the district has been negotiating in good faith. He says its latest offer even includes double-digit raises for some teachers.
"We need to be in a position where we can hire more teachers. Where we can add school days to the school year. Where we can recruit and retain the best teachers," Cowie said.
Both sides must submit their final, best offer next week. If they can't reach a compromise, the issue will head to a mediator.