Portland teachers give district new proposal
(Information in the following story is from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Negotiators for Portland teachers have given the school district a new contract proposal in face-to-face talks that lasted more than four hours. A strike is set for Feb. 20 if no agreement is reached before then.
The Oregonian reports that the teachers union later described to members some concessions made in the proposal.
The newspaper says Thursday's proposal leaves the two sides just over half a percentage point apart on salary increases. The union is now seeking about 2.5 percent to 2.6 percent annual raises with the district most recently proposing 2 percent a year.
The document sent to teachers also says the proposal offers concessions on rules governing how teachers are transferred and the role that teaching qualifications play in the layoff process.
Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith says the two sides will meet again Sunday. She says both sides are working "really hard" to reach agreement.
Portland has the state's largest school district with 48,000 students and 2,900 teachers.
Kitzhaber: Low-carbon fuel mandate will go forward
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Unable to convince the Legislature to keep Oregon's clean fuels program alive past its scheduled expiration next year, Gov. John Kitzhaber says he's ordering the stricter fuel requirements to go into effect anyway.
Oregon's low-carbon fuel standard aims to reduce the amount of carbon emissions associated with extracting, refining, transporting and burning the fuels used in transportation.
The Department of Environmental Quality is requiring fuel producers and importers to report the amount of carbon emissions associated with their fuels. But DEQ has said it won't require fuel companies to begin reducing the amount of emissions unless the Legislature continues the program beyond 2015.
Kitzhaber said Thursday he now wants DEQ to move forward the reduction mandates.
Oil companies, truckers, farmers and other large-volume fuel users worry that costs will rise.
Ore. schools could keep Native American mascots
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon schools may get to keep Native American-themed symbols despite a statewide ban under a bill currently making its way through the state Senate.
The bill would allow schools to use mascots that have a connection to a federally recognized Native American tribe in Oregon if a school board and the tribe enter into a written agreement that meets specific conditions. The bill revives the issue after Gov. John Kitzhaber vetoed a similar bill in August.
This time, supporters worked with the governor's office and tribal representatives to find a compromise. Under the revised bill, the State Board of Education must consult with Oregon's Native American tribes to develop rules governing the mascot agreements.
A state Senate committee voted Thursday to send the bill to the full Senate.
Skiers injured in deadly avalanche praise rescuers
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two backcountry skiers injured in a deadly Eastern Oregon avalanche are in satisfactory condition, and have released statements thanking rescuers.