Oakland teachers hung two signs from a 35th Avenue/ I-580 overpass on Friday, the first day of summer vacation for kids (and the last day of work for teachers).
“We heard a steady stream of honks as cars approached the overpass,” said Craig Gordon, a teacher at Paul Robeson high school who serves on the union’s executive board. “The goal of this action was to send a simple message to the public: Oakland teachers end the school year still fighting for a new contract to defend quality public education as a civil right.”
The salary schedule for Oakland teachers has barely budged since the 2003 state takeover; teachers start at below $40,000 a year, plus health benefits. The district’s chief services officer, Laura Moran, noted in a report at last week’s board meeting that the pay wasn’t competitive enough.
But where should the money come from? Would Oaklanders rally behind a local education tax from the Port of Oakland — one of the solutions the teacher’s union has proposed — or should matters of funding be worked out at the state level? In either case, do you agree that the state deficit should be resolved by taxing businesses more than they are now?
Note: Troy Christmas, director of Labor Relations for OUSD, tells me that district contributions to employee health benefits has risen by more than 60 percent between 2002-03 and now, and that the salary schedule increased by 2.3 percent during that time.
photos courtesy of Craig Gordon