Hundreds of teachers from the Sacramento City Teachers Association rallied Thursday afternoon in protest outside a Sacramento Unified School District trustee meeting over contract negotiations and a declared impasse.
The SCTA called attention to the district’s “rejection of a series of proposals from teachers” that are intended to “make Sacramento City a destination district.”
Among them: The teachers association said it seeks to ensure that all classrooms have a credentialed teacher; that class sizes are further lowered; that the number of school nurses and psychologists is increased; and that all students are able to take classes in arts, music and physical education.
It also wants to expand a parent-teacher home visit project. The association said the district “is in the best financial position in its history.”
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District spokesman Alex Barrios said he is confident the two sides will resolve their issues.
“We’re in agreement with SCTA in that we want to offer them by far the most competitive salary and benefits package,” Barrios said. “I think there is just disagreement about how much is in our pot to pay those.”
He said details are included in the district’s bargaining update, at http://www.scusd.edu/bargaining-update.
The page, in part, notes that the district is facing a budget deficit.
“Costs are expected to exceed budget in future years,” the update said. “As has been reported widely in the news, rising health care premiums and pension costs to California schools are a significant factor in the district’s increased costs.
“The district also is facing a large debt obligation for other post-employment benefits. While the district has, and will continue to, invest the bulk of its budget on competitive salaries and benefits for teachers, we face significant fiscal challenges. The SCUSD spends more on teacher salary and benefits and less on administrative costs than any other school district in the region.”
SCTA declared an impasse March 9 and has asked for a state mediator. The Public Employment Relations Board on Friday advised the association that it will assign a mediator to the case.
Nikki Milevsky, SCTA president, said in a statement that the district is refusing to invest in students and educators.
“The District is more focused on hiring administrators and building up an enormous reserve, rather than making sure our students can thrive,” she said.
The SCTA said in the last four years district revenues have grown by 41 percent, while its reserve fund has quadrupled to $98 million.