Portland schools, teachers to meet again Thursday

Portland, OR - Representatives of Portland Public Schools and the Portland Association of Teachers plan to meet Thursday for the first time since contract talks stalled on Jan. 16.

The Oregonian reports that the new meeting was scheduled after the parties talked Wednesday with Mayor Charlie Hales at City Hall.

Portland Public Schools spokesman Robb Cowie says Thursday's meeting won't involve mediators and won't include contract negotiations. He says it will be more "where are we at now and then where will we go?"

Cowie says the mayor encouraged both sides to reach agreement but did not step into the talks.

Union President Gwen Sullivan offered roughly the same assessment.

Hales spokesman Dana Haynes told the newspaper earlier Wednesday that the mayor had contacted both the schools superintendent and the union this week to make it known that he doesn't want a strike.

The two sides have been talking about a new contract for nine months.