District Reneges on Agreement and Refuses to Improve Learning and Teaching Conditions in City’s Classrooms Despite Contractual Obligations
SACRAMENTO – Today, April 11, 3,000 members of the Sacramento City Classroom Teachers Association, for the first time in 30 years, are walking on picket lines outside their schools. The strike, by SCTA members, has major ramifications for Los Angeles, Oakland and Denver, along with other cities and districts where agreements were reached after recent strikes or hard bargaining.
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Educators in Sac City already have a contract, a signed, enforceable collective bargaining agreement. However, educators in the state capital are launching “an unfair labor-practices strike” as a result of Sacramento City Unified School District’s superintendent, Jorge Aguilar, with the support of the school board, refusal to honor the contract that he personally signed more than 16 months ago, ironically, to avoid a strike.
SCUSD administrators are backtracking on an agreement that calls for reduced class sizes and improved services to students in exchange for changes in an employee health care plan. In 2017, the union, SCTA, located a source of funding to accomplish class-size reduction and other improvements to student services. SCTA and district negotiators agreed to use a projected $16 million in savings from a change in health plans to fund the class-size reductions. The agreement was signed in December 2017.
When the teachers’ contract was settled, the Sacramento City Unified School District also was strongly advised that its ongoing budget required the district to reduce an additional $15.6 million in costs by curbing bureaucratic bloat. Instead of chopping from the top, Superintendent Aguilar went on a spending spree that included adding more administrators and an outrageous $6 million vacation buyout to top administrators. Some managers received six-figure payouts.
The district’s failure to honor the terms of the agreement is a violation of California’s labor laws. Under this circumstance the union is allowed to hold an “unfair labor practices” strike.
"This strike is to ensure that SCUSD management keeps its promises to our students," said David Fisher. "SCUSD administrators simply need to honor the contract and obey the law.” Added Fisher, “Our superintendent, and school board talks a good game about ‘equity, access and social justice.’ It appears to be just talk, which is why Sacramento’s educators today will just walk.”
Updates on the strike are available at the following hashtags: #SCTA4Students #Strike #RedForEd
The Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) founded in 1921 represents 3,000 certificated educators, including K-12, special education, adult education and resource teachers; school nurses, librarians, psychologists, social workers, and including 600 substitute teachers. SCTA is affiliated with the 325,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3 million-member National Education Association (NEA).