Oakland Unified Schools: 'We do not want a strike'
OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - On the heels of this week’s emotional school board meeting where Oakland Unified School District’s board voted to close Roots International Academy, the cash-strapped district is saying they do not want a teacher strike and are seeking an agreement that is “financially responsible.”
Facing a $30 million budget deficit, district Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell explained in a letter on Wednesday that OUSD is “working diligently” to support teachers and has compiled a frequently asked questions document to make the fact-finding stage of teacher and budget negotiations transparent.
“In this stage of negotiations, a three-member panel listens to the Oakland Education Association (OEA) [the teachers’ union] and the District. The panel will submit an advisory report, which will include a recommendation for settlement. The non-binding report will be made public within 10 days of finalization,” Dr. Johnson-Trammell wrote. %INLINE%
The panel was selected earlier this month. They will listen to both parties involved January 31 and February 1.
With the school board considering reduced services and staff layoffs; cuts were initially scheduled for a Wednesday night vote, but have been postponed to allow for more preparation.
The closure of Roots Academy marks the first of a possible two-dozen schools to close in the coming years.
On January 18, hundreds of teachers and their supporters held a “non-sanctioned” sick-out, where they rallied and marched. Their main reasons for that action, which "disappointed" the district, was a 12 percent pay raise over three years they are seeking, along with class-size reduction and hours of work.
According to data from the union, Oakland teachers are the lowest paid of any teacher in the East Bay.
The district is offering teachers a five percent increase over three years.
Dr. Johnson-Trammell is a former teacher herself and a parent of students within the district.
“I want all teachers to know how much they are valued and appreciated,” she wrote.
According to the district, if there is a strike, they expect it sometime mid-February once the fact-finding report is released on February 15.