The Oakland teachers union opposed the school district’s last (failed) attempt to raise its members’ salaries via local taxation (“Outstanding Teachers for All Oakland Students Act“). But tonight, union leaders decided to take a neutral position on a similar initiative, Measure L, according to union President Betty Olson-Jones.
“I think it was the best we could have hoped for, given the track record,” said Peter Fiske, a Chabot Elementary School parent who’s volunteering on the parcel tax campaign.
Rebranded as “Oakland Unified School District’s Student Achievement, Support and Safety Measure,” Measure L would cost Oakland property owners $195 a year and generate an estimated $20 million. Though “teacher” does not appear in the title, most the funds would go to the salaries of teachers and other school-based employees.
The teachers union, which held a one-day strike in April and has yet to resolve a contract dispute with the district, withdrew from the parcel tax coalition last fall. Its leaders didn’t want any of the proceeds to benefit state-funded, privately run charter schools — and, if passed, about 15 percent of the proceeds will go to charters.
Fiske noted that a number of teachers have endorsed the measure, as well as parents, politicians, would-be politicians and organizations, and said the endorsement list grows each day.
Who’s supporting Measure L? Some of the supporters’ names appear on a flier that went out today.
In other OEA news: The union’s representatives also voted to endorse Ben Visnick, an Oakland high teacher and former union president who’s running for school board against incumbent Gary Yee. They voted “no endorsement” for the Oakland mayor’s race.