Oakland teachers vote to authorize strike

Oakland teachers authorized a strike on Monday afternoon, with 95% of teachers voting to support a strike. 

The teachers want a twelve percent pay increase over three years. The Oakland Unified School District is offering five percent. 

Markham Elementary School teacher Chaz Garcia said the issues are well worth striking over and money isn't the only sticking point.

"It's really about forging a change for the students so they get support in the classroom whether that be smaller class sizes and having counselors and nurses at the school sites," Garcia said.

Contract talks have been going on for more than a year, and the district is making contingency plans if teachers do walk out. 

"We will have substitutes on campus," said district spokesman John Sasaki. "We will have central office staff going to schools to support and ensure education continues at our schools."

If teachers do strike, it will likely happen after February 15, when a report from a fact-finding panel is set to be released. One teacher told KTVU they're considering a strike date of February 19, adding "teachers here are ready." 

Parents who spoke to KTVU were supportive of the teachers, but were concerned that a strike would be disruptive. 

"It's going to be a burden on me, but I can deal with it. I will have to find another sitter," said Phillip Graham.

"I'd have to keep my kid home if he's not going to be in class and not have any teachers available. That's not okay," said Monique Williams.

At this point, a strike is not a done deal, but the threat is certainly real.