Yuba City Teachers Strike Stretches into Sixth Day

YUBA CITY -- The sun sets on day six of a teachers strike with no hint of losing steam.

A crowd chants from outside a school board meeting, "let us in, let us in!"

Emotion is raw, and angry. In Yuba City, teachers, students and parents were literally barred from a school board meeting.

The building at Andros Kaperos Middle School could only hold a few hundred people at a time. The rest were asked to wait outside, let in one by one as others exited.

For those inside, it was the chance to meet the Yuba City Unified School District board members face to face.

Parents, teachers and students all took their turn to have their voices heard. Each was given a three minute time limit.

The rally on Thursday began around 5 p.m., organizers say it was intended to resemble a block party, and it was a chance for the community to come together and support its teachers.

"The district has the means, they have all the power, they can end this strike today," said teacher Rosie Alvarez.

Alvarez is one of hundreds of teachers who have gone on strike, trading their classrooms for the picket lines.

"It's been absolutely horrible to be pulled out of our classrooms and to be away from our kids, we got into this profession to be with the children," said Alvarez.

This strike, not only impacting their careers, but their entire lives.

"My own children haven’t gone to school in six days, my daughter had a meltdown today. She said 'I just want to go back to school mom.'"

With district-wide attendance hovering at 52 percent, Alvarez's children aren’t alone.

Victor Antunez is among those who have allowed their children to remain out of school during the strike. He considers this a valuable learning experience.

"We have to stand up for something that we want, because for me I don’t know what my children will be in the future, and this is where our future begins, if we ignore and do not let them be respected we’re not going to be able to get anywhere."

Negotiations between the Teachers Union and the Yuba City Unified School District have been ongoing throughout the six-day strike.

"We were told by the district that the best that they could do was 11.1 percent, so we came back with a counter proposal worth 11.1 percent, without the strings attached," said teacher Paula Manning.

The district said during a community board meeting Thursday that it's not about being fair.

Board members say if they accept the teachers proposal, an 11.1 percent raise, paid upfront, it would ultimately leave the district with a financial deficit of $6.5 million dollars.

"We never expected this to go six days but we’re strong. We keep saying one day longer, one day stronger, and we have to do this for our students," said Manning.

Negotiations are scheduled to continue Friday morning at 9 a.m.