Oakland school district says teachers union owes over $400,000

The Oakland Education Association, the teachers union, owes Oakland Unified $403,434 from the last two school years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday morning.   

The union, according to the Chronicle, owes the money for the salary and benefits of educators on leave for union business. State law requires unions to reimburse districts for paying the salary and benefits within 10 days of payment confirmation.   

The union's over $400,000 debt includes missed payments in the 2021-22 school year and no payments last school year in 2022-23, the Chronicle reported. So far this school year, the union hasn't made payments for nearly $100,000 for three educators, including the union president, who are on leave.   

Even though law dictates that payments be made within 10 days, Oakland Unified's accounting team recently discovered the lapse during its year-end reconciliation process, the Chronicle reported.   

The lack of payments, according to the Chronicle, means the district paid the salaries and benefits of union leaders through months of negotiations and a strike. The two sides agreed to its recent contract after a heated and divisive teacher strike in May 2023.   

Union leaders, the Chronicle reported, declined to respond to questions about the overdue payments.   

But Mike Hutchinson, president of the Oakland Unified school board, told the Chronicle, "It is hard to accept that we are now subsiding OEA leadership."