How Can Portland Public Schools Afford Its New Teacher Contract? With These Taxes and Layoffs.

Rachel Saslow:

The first rule of Portland Public Schools budget cuts: Don’t call them budget cuts.

“We refer to it as a ‘gap,’” says Will Howell, a PPS spokesman.

So, the school district faces a $130 million gap because of the labor contract it signed last week with the Portland Association of Teachers—an agreement that was largely a tremendous victory for educators. Now the district will need to find $10 million in savings this school year, $41 million next year, and $79 million the year after that.

That last number assumes that school funding remains flat; it could change depending on what, if anything, happens on the May 2024 ballot and at the spring 2025 session of the Oregon Legislature.

But at least one official is saying the C-word.

“The size of the cuts we need to make are going to require cuts to direct services,” Portland School Board member Andrew Scott says.

The district will likely find the $130 million in the following places, starting with your wallet: