OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Oakland Education Association has stood firm on what it wants -- higher salaries, smaller class sizes and more nurses and counselors.
For starters, Oakland has a teacher retention problem, it loses nearly 19 percent of teachers every year. That's much higher than the state average.
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"We lose one out of five teachers every year," revealed Bethanay Meyer, a union representative.
The starting rate for a teacher in Oakland is $46,000 a year with an average pay of $67,000 for a more experienced educator.
"Teachers can't afford to live in Oakland," said Keith Brown, President of the Oakland Education Association.
This independent fact-finding report agrees that a "5 percent raise over three years will not keep pace with inflation."
But on the other hand, it acknowledges that given the districts financial crisis it "can't afford the 12-percent raise that teachers want."
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So, the recommendation is "three percent for the first year, three percent for the second year and an economic reopener for 2019-2020."
Angela Badami-Knight of the education advocacy group Go Public Schools explained the significance of a reopener.
"Both sides would come back to the table to discuss the appropriate compensation given what might be new about the state budget," explained Badami-Knight.
The report also says for the district to retain specialized teachers, nurses and counselors, offer them a $5,000 signing bonus and $2,500 every two years.
On the issue of class sizes, the union wants to reduce the number of kids in each classroom by two students over the next two years.
RELATED: Oakland teachers announce strike date for Thursday, Feb. 21
That would cost the district $36.2 million because you would have to hire more teachers and come up with more spaces.
And while the independent arbitrator thinks it would improve teacher retention and educational outcomes in Oakland, the truth is Oakland classrooms are, for the most part, already following the state's average class size.
So the recommendation is to implement an across-the-board class size reduction of only one over the next two years.
Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the Oakland teacher strike.
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