by Chris Reed | March 22, 2019 11:35 am
Teachers in the Sacramento City Unified School District have authorized a strike, hoping to follow in the footsteps of teachers in Los Angeles Unified and Oakland Unified and secure substantial raises after a brief walkout.
But in key ways, the dynamics appear different. In Los Angeles and Oakland, the public and the local media were clearly sympathetic. Teachers had not had significant raises in years, and with the cost of housing going up arguably have lost purchasing power in recent years.
In Sacramento, however, the argument that the local school district simply can’t afford raises because of the huge long-term increase in pension costs and loss in state funding because of declining enrollment has resonated far more than similar warnings did in Los Angeles and Oakland. Coverage in regular and social media has repeatedly emphasized three points:
Writing Monday, Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton warned the teachers union that it risked disaster not just for the district and its 42,000 students but for a city that has built up civic momentum in recent years under Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
“Sacramento’s efforts to sell itself as a place for companies to invest would be damaged because a major selling point is good schools,” Breton wrote. “How many investment opportunities would be lost if Sacramento became known as the city whose schools were bankrupt?”
Aguilar arrived in 2017 at the district and is given good marks in most circles for his determination to avoid financial disaster. But a FCMAT audit released in December pointed out a vast array of problems in Sacramento City’s management that dated back many years. It cited incompetence and poor communications by the district’s business team and a failure to properly analyze budget data that indicated the headaches to come.
Union leaders say these management failings are not their responsibility and should not be held against their push for better pay.
The union’s hope that a strike authorization vote would lead to new concessions hasn’t happened so far. A union statement said the strike was coming “at a date likely in the next month.”
Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2019/03/22/sacramento-teacher-strike-threat-spurs-criticism/
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