Sacramento City Unified School District Teachers Prepare to Strike

SACRAMENTO -- Nearly 2,800 Sacramento City Unified Teachers just started the countdown to what could be the first teacher strike in the district in 28 years.

"We still hope not to strike, it's an absolute last resort," said David Fisher, president of the Sacramento Teachers Association.

However, after a year of failed contract negotiations, the Sacramento Teachers Association says they will strike if necessary. Their stated goal is to make Sacramento City Unified a destination district.

"It's a combination of working and learning conditions like class size and nurses and art and music, along with sufficient compensation so that teachers want to come and stay in our district," Fisher said.

The Sacramento Teachers Association says in most cases their teachers make significantly less than teachers in neighboring San Juan and Elk Grove School districts.

"The district has rejected virtually all our proposals," he said.

Their proposal is outrageous, according to Alex Barrios, chief communications officer for Sacramento City Schools

"You have to have a sustainable plan, one that you can afford to pay years down the line," he said.

Barrios says the teachers' demands for a 16 percent raise would cost nearly $93 million dollars, which he says would eventually force the district to cut student programs.

"We are currently offering $25 million in salary raises, they would average out to 6 percent for every teacher in this district," Barrios said.

Wednesday, the district did seem to address one of the teacher' demands when the superintendent released a video pledging to spend more on arts and music funding for students.

However, there have been no renewed negotiations and the district is vowing to keep schools open if the teacher strike.

"We've received over a thousand applications from teachers who love this district and who want to make sure that they're there for our kids. Ee will use these teachers if necessary to keep our schools open," Barrios said.