Hundreds Take To Burnside Bridge In Rally For Portland Teachers

<p>2013-11-22 19.06.40</p>

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Hundreds of teachers and parents rallied on Portland's Burnside Bridge Friday evening. It was to show support for the Portland Association of Teachers in their ongoing contract dispute with Portland Public Schools.

The district declared an impasse earlier this week.

Richard McElroy teaches at Alameda Elementary. He stood on the bridge with two colleagues.

"We're just surprised that the superintendent said an impasse is the fastest way to get to a settlement," McElroy said. "So we're out here saying 'we love your kids, we're ready to teach, and we just want to have both sides keep talking until we reach a resolution'."

Impasse requires both sides to submit final offers next week. It also starts a clock toward a possible teachers' strike, or the district unilaterally instituting a contract.

The district and union differ over financial elements, like health insurance and salary, and over policies for hiring and transferring teachers.

And, the union wants specific language in the contract about class sizes and instructional workloads. The district wants to address those issues in a separate agreement.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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