Oakland schools, teachers prepare for looming strike

Lyanne Melendez Image
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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Oakland teachers are gearing up for a strike on Thursday after an agreement had not been reached with the school district.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland schools and teachers are gearing up for a Thursday strike after both sides failed to reach an agreement. On Monday, Oakland's mayor told reporters she believes a strike is unavoidable but hopes it will be short lived given a series of new developments.

Late on Monday the union was finalizing preparations for a walkout at Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church in Oakland.

With a teachers strike looming, both the Oakland School District and the teacher's union have refused to make the first move to discuss the contract. For example, the union wants to see a new proposal in writing before sitting down with the school district.

RELATED: Oakland teachers announce strike date for Thursday, Feb. 21

"What we're saying is we want to see the proposal that the district has, we want to see it," expressed Keith Brown, President of the Oakland Teachers Association.

The district on the other hand wants to sit down first to discuss the latest offer, then begin to negotiate.

"If they want to avoid a strike too why not come sit at the table with us, it's the same question. We all want to avoid a strike, the last thing we want in Oakland is a strike," said John Sasaki, spokesperson for the Oakland Unified School District.

RELATED: Sickout day called by Oakland students to show support for teachers

Oakland's Mayor Libby Schaaf told reporters she recently spoke to Governor Gavin Newsom who reassured her more money will be allocated for education in his upcoming budget proposal which would give the district more funding.

"The governor's budget definitely represents an increase and possibly more resources than people were aware of initially," said Mayor Schaaf.

RELATED: 95 percent of Oakland teachers vote to strike

The independent fact-finding report recommends a 3-percent raise for 2017-18, a 3-percent raise for this year and an economic reopen for 2019-2020, meaning the amount would be negotiated based on economic growth.

While everyone acknowledges a strike would be disruptive, the principal at Martin Luther King Jr. elementary says they will try to stick with the current curriculum.

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"We plan to make sure that we use the instruction time wisely by making sure that children are actually reading, writing and learning," said Roma Groves-Waters.

Courtney Riley has a senior in high school. "I'm sure he won't cross the picket line, but he will have to do something related to his growth and his education, explained Riley.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the Oakland teacher strike.