Oakland teacher contract negotiations break down, strike planned for Monday

Contract negotiations between Oakland teachers and the Oakland Unified School District broke down Sunday and teachers are planning to strike for the third day on Monday morning.

According to the district, campuses will remain staffed and open, though they reiterated that class won't be "school as usual."

The Oakland Unified School District held a press conference Sunday afternoon, where  Jenine Lindsey, the labor negotiator for the district, said the teachers union didn't budge from its May proposal of a 12-percent raise over three years. The negotiator also said it was the teachers union who didn't want to negotiate on Saturday and who called off talks on Sunday within 60 minutes. On Sunday evening, the union, on Facebook, said it was the district that isn't ready to "end the teacher retention crisis," adding that state Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will join them at the bargaining table on Monday.

"We're hoping this helps the district come to their senses," the union said on Facebook. 

The district is now offering a 7 percent raise over three years plus a 1.5 percent one-time bonus, up from an initial 5 percent.

For now, teachers go back to the picket lines at 6:30 a.m. Monday, rain or shine. A total of 3,000 ponchos have been ordered just in case, union president Keith Brown said Friday. The union is also organizing a 12:30 p.m. rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza. 

In another development, the district said that there were "disappointing rumors" circulating that administrators were planning to threaten the immigration status of students who don't attend during the strike. That is completely untrue, the district said in a Sunday evening call to parents, reminding them that OUSD is a sanctuary district. 

While the district has been clear in supporting the overall idea that teachers should be paid more, spokesman John Sasaki said a 12-percent raise would cost $60 million and the union’s class size reduction proposal would cost the district between $18 million and $30 million. That is money the district doesn't have, he said. 

 The district currently faces a budget shortfall expected to reach $56 million by the 2020-21 school year. The cuts could include laying off more than 100 employees and slashing $3 million from schools’ discretionary funds.

More: Oakland teachers on strike: What you need to know

"OUSD is eager and ready for the negotiations to continue so the two sides can bring the strike to a quick end," Sasaki said. "This delay is only hampering those efforts. We ask the (Oakland Education Association) leadership to return to the table as soon as possible." 

The union planned to have teachers and supporters picketing outside Monday night’s school board meeting, where trustees are scheduled to vote on a district proposal to cut $21.75 million from the 2019-2020 school year budget. 

KTVU's Azenith Smith contributed to this report.