OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — On Day 7 of the Oakland teachers strike, their union blasted school district officials for tallying up a “ridiculous” price tag for the union’s contract demands.
The Oakland Education Association union wrote, “The district told the news media that OEA’s Common Good agenda would cost in excess of ‘a billion dollars.’ Typical of OUSD’s bargaining – or lack of it, this is a number and statement not backed by any facts.”
“We have no idea how OUSD came up with that ridiculous number,” said Kampala Taiz-Rancifer, OEA vice president.
“Our Common Good goals are largely about ensuring educators, parents, students and other stakeholders have a voice in the decision-making process. We also have proposed the addition of a small number of additional staff to support our most impacted community schools,” Taiz-Rancifer said.
A standoff between the Oakland Unified School District and Oakland Education Association union has left 34,000 students wondering if their academic year is over. The two sides only have nine school days left on the calendar before summer begins.
A major sticking point centers on “common good” proposals, such as housing homeless students, investing in Black Thriving Community Schools (schools with 40 percent or more Black students), getting rid of rats, and planting drought-friendly plants for landscaping.
On Wednesday night, district officials released a shocking estimated price tag for the union’s long list of demands. “Fully implementing OEA’s initial common good proposal would cost the district more than $1 billion,” OUSD officials wrote.
Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said “common good” proposals are about broad societal issues that should not be in a new contract. According to Trammell, the district is offering teachers a $70 million raise, which would help attract and retain excellent teachers.
The strike by more than 3,000 Oakland teachers and other educators moves into its seventh school day Friday. Union members, students, and parents from across the city are on picket lines outside dozens of schools.
A union rally will begin at 12:30 p.m. at Lake Merritt Amphitheater, followed by a march moving between 12th Street and 1st Avenue.
Trammell said the union and district have made progress with bargaining salary raises. But it’s unclear if either side has budged over “common good” proposals.