Strike ends as Oakland teachers union announces tentative deal

The Oakland Education Association announced Monday morning that teachers have a tentative agreement with the Oakland Unified School District, ending a strike that started May 4. 

The teachers union said that Monday is a "transition day," with instruction resuming on Tuesday. 

Union president Israel Armendariz said part of the agreement gives teachers a "historic collapse of our salary structure." 

The 2.5-year tentative agreement includes a 15.5% pay raise for most teachers, with those at the bottom of the pay scale receiving more, according to the union. The tentative agreement offers all teachers at least a 10% raise dating back to Nov. 1, 2022, and a one-time $5,000 stipend. 

At a news conference at McClymonds High School in West Oakland, Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said the contract would cost an estimated $70 million. She said some number-crunching would be in order.

"At the end of the day the math needs to make sense, right? We need to stay solvent. There are a number of different avenues that I think we're going to have to explore," Johnson-Trammell said.

The superintendent said for the most part, the proposed contract comes just in time for year-end activities like "senior capstone projects, field trips, sports, yearbook signing, promotions and graduations." 

Union vice president Kampala Taiz-Rancifer said the union "won our ‘Common Goods’ goals," especially more resources for "Black-thriving" schools." 

The agreement states that there should be 12 community appointments to be on shared governance committees for Community Schools, comprised of union appointees, student board members and a parent. 

The teachers also said there was tentative agreement on creating a Black student reparations task force, comprised of parents, students, educators and classified staff, when possible, from historically Black schools. 

In terms of school closures, the teachers say that a closure or a consolidation can only occur with a unanimous board vote if the district wants to skip the other requirements, such as an Equity Impact Analysis, discussion at two board meetings, and notification of school communities. 

Other items in the new contract include the hiring of more teacher librarians, counselors and school nurses.

The union says as part of the agreement every elementary school in the district will have a counselor on staff.

There are also provisions in the contract to limit class sizes and create committees of teachers and parents and other people involved in the school to prioritize what things need to be fixed in classrooms, like HVAC and plumbing systems.

Members of the teachers' union had said that the district needed to send over a final draft of the terms by 11 p.m., otherwise, teachers would return to the picket lines.