How OUSD plans to fund historic $70M compensation package for teachers following end of strike

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
How OUSD plans to fund $70M compensation package for teachers
How Oakland Unified plans to fund historic $70 million compensation package for teachers following end of strike.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Oakland teachers' strike is over. Students are back in class. But when It comes to funding, challenges still remain.

"Since becoming the superintendent in 2017, my goal has always been to stabilize the foundation of our district through fiscal stewardship, so that eventually we could position ourselves to pay our teachers and educators what they deserve," said Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). She spoke at a news conference on Monday morning after the collective bargaining agreement was signed.

VIDEO: Beyond backpacks, OUSD students carry added excitement over return to school after teachers strike

"I missed my teachers, my friends, and my school," one 7-year-old girl told ABC7 News. Here's how Oakland parents and students handled the absence from school during the strike.

Since the start of negotiations, Dr. Johnson-Trammel has always maintained that on the table is a historic compensation package.

What both sides agreed to is a 10 percent pay raise retroactive to November of 2022, a one-time $5,000 bonus, and pay raises ranging from 11 to 22 percent.

"It's about $70 million in compensation for our teachers and all the members of OEA (Oakland Education Association)," said John Sasaki, OUSD Spokesperson.

In a statement to ABC7 News, OUSD says more than 50 percent of that $70 million will be paid through a combination of unrestricted and restricted funds coming from the state.

MORE: Oakland teachers' union reaches deal with OUSD in contract negotiations; students to return

Oakland Education Association says a tentative agreement has been reached with OUSD concerning the teachers' strike, which has now been called off.

From OUSD:

  • $37 million of the ongoing salary-driven expenses are funded by the Unrestricted and Restricted resources each OEA professional is assigned to, including Child Development and Adult Education.
  • $16 million to pay for the retroactive salary will be funded as noted above from all assigned funds and resources. The District will also reserve $16M from the Base Unrestricted General fund and its one-time AB1840 resources to cover any resource or fund that does not have enough available in 2022-23 to fund the entire retroactive salary adjustments.
  • $16 million One Time Payment of $5,000 will be funded from ESSER II/ESSER III
  • $1.6 million in investment from non-compensation Articles will be funded from the Unrestricted Base and Supplemental resources in the General Fund.

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

The Oakland Education Association, the union that represents teachers, says each year state funding increases annually by two percent. But this year, the increase is projected to be eight percent, which helped the district fund the package.

RELATED: What are 'common good' demands?

But declining enrollment also means lower revenue for schools, which both sides will have to deal with.

"We are going to partner with the district, also, on making sure kids come to school. That's kind of how declining enrollment, coupled with attendances and attendances practices have really made our budget tight in OUSD," says Ismael Armendariz, President of the Oakland Education Association.

As for the four common good proposals, just one, the Black Thriving Schools proposal, has a financial component. It requires the district to pay for five new teaching positions.

It will cost, "$1.5 to $1.8 million over the course of three years for those five positions," said Josh Daniels, OUSD's Chief Governance Officer.

The OUSD and OEA hope to work with local, state, and federal officials to assist with the other common good proposals such as securing Section 8 vouchers to help unhoused students. And work with AC Transit to expand access to free bus passes.

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