Oakland Tech High School teachers push for salary increase

Lyanne Melendez Image
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Oakland Tech High School teachers push for salary increase
Teachers at Oakland Technical High School are pushing the school district to finally settle their contract in hopes of getting a salary increase of up to 17 percent.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Teachers at Oakland Technical High School are staging a so-called grade-in hoping to push the school district to finally settle their contract.

Oakland Tech teachers did their after school duties outside to show the district how hard they work. They're asking for a salary increase of between 14 and 17 percent.

"In reality teachers are doing work on weekends, evenings. I wake up early and do work before I come to school," Natalia Cooper said.

Oakland Unified School District is proposing a 10.5 percent raise over three years, with the possibility of an additional 1.5 percent if state revenue projections pan out. If all teachers move to the cheaper Kaiser health plan, the district is adding 1.5 percent on top of that for a total of 13.5 percent.

"Either pay the difference or move to Kaiser and then there would be additional salary compensations in exchange for that concession," Oakland Unified School District spokesperson Troy Flint said.

"Even though it is a high raise, everybody else was much higher than us," Oakland Education Association spokesperson Trish Gorham said.

But perhaps the most contentious issue is over seniority. The school district would like veteran teachers to give up their seniority rights when they try to move to another school. That's something the union opposes.

"They're putting everybody into the same pool so veteran teachers who may have come from a closed or transfigured school would have to compete for the same openings as someone outside the district," Gorham said.

The teachers applying would be selected by a committee of other teachers and parents and finally approved by the principal.

"The idea is that those who work there every day who are closest to the problem understand the needs of the school best and how to meet them and they should be able to select teachers who best help them realize the common vision of the school," Flint said.

Officials will continue to negotiate. In fact, there are several sessions scheduled at the end of April. The union will then go its membership with an update and then they will decide where to take it from there.