(BCN) — The stalemate continued in Oakland on Monday between the public school district and teachers who took to picket lines over wages and other items for a third day. Oakland Unified School District Board President Mike Hutchinson reiterated that district officials will only bargain over wages and working conditions.
Teachers want other items included in the contract, which they call common good items. One item teachers want to see in the contract is the use of vacant school district buildings for housing for homeless students.
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Hutchinson some of the items in the teachers common good proposal are already reflected in the district’s policies and directives.
“We need this strike over,” Hutchinson said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
He emphasized that two narratives are at work. Union officials are saying the district is bargaining in bad faith, and district officials maintain they are not.
Hutchinson said Monday that teachers went on strike before an impasse was called, which is unlike the union. Both sides on Thursday agreed to let state Superintendent Tony Thurmond mediate the dispute. Thurmond’s office did not have any information to share early Monday afternoon.
The end of the school year in Oakland public schools is May 25. Hutchinson said he hopes the strike ends before the district must decide whether to extend the year or call an end to it. About 35,000 students are affected by the strike.
The Oakland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People weighed in Monday, saying children’s education at the end of the school year is the most important thing right now and urged teachers to think about ending the strike. Students at this time of year are taking exams, and among other things, getting ready for college. Students need the support of teachers and the community to finish the year strong, NAACP leaders said.
The latest wage proposal includes a 10 percent retroactive raise and a $5,000 one-time bonus for union members, according to a Sunday memo by the district. It also provides every teacher with a raise of at least 13 percent and as much as 22 percent.
The offer also cuts the time it takes teachers to reach the top of the pay scale to 20 years from 32 years. Hutchinson said Monday that the district’s proposal will cost nearly $70 million.
District Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said Thursday few resources are available to address other issues. Because of financial pressures, the board of education last year developed a plan to consolidate schools. That plan was reversed.
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