Teachers and staff from the Sacramento City Unified School District gathered at dozens of school campuses around the city Wednesday on the first day of an indefinite strike.
Members of the Sacramento City Teachers Association and SEIU Local 1021 — which represent roughly 4,600 educators and classified staff — walked out over personnel shortages creating what they describe as overcrowded classrooms and compromising consistent instruction. It’s the teachers union’s second strike since 2019.
While the strike lasts, all district schools will remain closed.
Shana Just, a biology teacher at Luther Burbank High School, was on the picket line at the south Sacramento school Wednesday morning. She said an ongoing staffing shortage has at times left students without their teachers or substitutes during the day.
"We have a major staffing problem in this district," she said. "So that's what we're fighting for — we're fighting for our students."
School district officials released the details of their latest offer to the union Tuesday night, saying they were ready to continue the bargaining process.
On Wednesday, the first day of the strike, the district released a statement saying again they’re open to negotiations, but that they expected the strike to continue Thursday and for parents to plan to keep their students out of school.
"While we remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement soon, we know that in order for you to make arrangements for child care and supervision, it’s critical that we provide you with as much notice as possible," the statement reads. "We will reach out with further communication should the status of our schools change this evening or tomorrow morning."
Kristin Goree has a kindergartner and a fourth grader attending Bancroft Elementary School in the College Glen area of Sacramento. Although she took her kids to the school’s picket line Wednesday, she said she still hopes for more understanding from all involved.
“In this situation, there’s no one party that is 100% at fault,” she said. “Everybody needs to give a little bit. I think that teachers have really struggled over the last two years in the pandemic … our teachers are really undervalued and they deserve so much more.”
The district is making grab-and-go meals available at sites around the city, and will continue to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics during the strike. (Find more information on services available for students here.)
Childcare is available at 4th R sites throughout the city during their regular hours. They are the only childcare provider available on school campuses.
Katie Holman, who has two children at Caleb Greenwood Elementary, said she’s anxious about how long the strike might last, but is still supporting it.
“The teachers have gone above and beyond during COVID and after, and even pre COVID," Holman said. "They were always the number one champion for all of these students. And so we want to see them supported and to be able to have a living wage."
The district’s bargaining team and teachers’ union are currently negotiating conditions for reopening this school year. But the district’s team says staffing shortages are not on the table.
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