Sacramento City Teachers Association launched a one-day strike on April 11 to call attention to a continued unfair labor practice (ULP) and outright violations of the contract — and to make it clear that they expect Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and the school board to honor the contract and obey the law.
Parents, community members and students joined teachers in telling SCUSD management to honor its promises to educators and students. Public support of SCTA and its members was evident on the picket lines at every school site in the district, and at the “Kids First” rally in front of district offices where nearly 3,000 people chanted their encouragement.
“Honor our contract that provides resources and smaller class sizes for our students. That’s what we want,” said SCTA President David Fisher. “We did our homework and found resources to fund our proposals. We compromised and mutually agreed to a contract that meets the needs of our students. SCUSD managers are trying to break that agreement. We won’t break our promise to our students.”
The ULP centers on the fact that SCUSD is refusing to honor the contract that both sides agreed to, ratified and signed two years ago. The Sacramento County Office of Education OK’d the deal as well. County Superintendent of Schools David Gordon gave the district 10 days to reduce its budget by $15.6 million for the 2019-20 school year to avoid “falling into a structural deficit.” He noted the contract did not put the district in financial difficulty.
Instead of making those cuts and following the contract, which called for increased student support, the superintendent OK’d a vacation pay buy-out to administrators totaling $6 million and hired nearly two dozen central administrators despite an enrollment decline. Then SCUSD sued teachers to break the contract due to financial difficulties, and lost. Concerned about the district’s solvency and mismanagement, SCTA asked the state to undertake a forensic audit of the district’s revenue. That audit begins in May.
As part of SCTA’s promise to students, teachers agreed to change their health insurance plan as long as the savings goes to reducing class sizes and student supports. SCUSD management wants to use the savings to shore up its budget instead of decreasing class size.
There are issues regarding the interpretation of salary schedule language, but those have moved to arbitration.
Teachers hope to meet with SCUSD management April 23 or 24 to settle the conflict. Meanwhile, how can SCUSD settle this conflict? Teachers say SCUSD management and school board should:
- Keep their promise, obey the law, and honor the mutually agreed to contract that provides the resources their students need to succeed.
- Come to the table in good faith. Educators prefer to be change-makers and work with SCUSD administrators and community partners.