SACRAMENTO — Sacramento teachers have announced their plan to go on strike.
The strike, scheduled for April 11, is in response to what the Sacramento City Teachers Association says were at least 30 violations of an existing collective bargaining agreement between the teachers and the district.
The Sacramento City Unified School District also released a statement following Tuesday’s announcement:
“This strike is unnecessary and will only hurt students, families and employees by putting the district on the fast track to a state takeover. A state takeover will result in less money for our students and do serious harm to the city’s public schools for many years to come. Our students do not deserve to be put through the hardships that will be caused by this strike. We will continue encouraging SCTA leaders to work with us in the coming days to focus on saving our schools from a state takeover and finding more collaborative ways to resolve their disagreements with the District.”
“I understand the teacher’s side and I understand the state side,” said SCUSD grandparent Marci White.
A full understanding of those sides is something most of the people dropping off kids at Caleb Greenwood Elementary School told FOX40 they simply don’t have.
“This is about promises that we mutually made to the students and we need to make sure that the district fulfills those promises,” said SCTA President David Fischer.
“We don’t agree with that assessment at all and we don’t believe a strike is necessary,” said SCUSD Chief Communications Officer Alex Barrios.
Teachers and district officials have met with an independent mediator but say hours of negotiations went nowhere.
“We have to have a shared understanding of what our agreement is. To this date, we don’t have a shared understanding,” Barrios told FOX40.
They may also lack a shared immediate focus with the district as it tries to balance a $35 million budget deficit to avoid a state takeover.
“A strike is not going to help anybody,” Barrios. “A strike definitely won’t help the students and a strike will definitely put us on a fast track to a state takeover, which is going to be even more harmful to students for years and possibly decades to come.”
The SCTA is focussing on prioritizing conditions for teachers and students. The teachers say the one day strike is intended to minimize the impact on families while still sending a message to the district.
“If it does happen and we do one day strike then, hopefully, we’ll be able to get together and iron out these issues,” Fischer said.
As for families, the ones FOX40 spoke to said they support teachers and are skeptical of how the district wound up in such a budget bind. However, they fear students will lose out without their regular teachers in the classroom.
“The kids, they get out of sync and it disrupts the education I think,” White said.
At this point, a strike is still not inevitable.
If it does go forward, there will still be school next Thursday. The district says they will use administrators with teaching credentials, substitutes and replacement teachers to staff classes.
There are 40,000 students under the school district, making it the 13th largest district in the state.
Back in March, thousands of Oakland teachers ended a seven-day strike following an agreement that included an 11 percent salary increase and a one-time 3 percent bonus.