Contract, imposed

It was unanimous. All seven members of the Oakland school board voted to immediately implement a contract for teachers — the same offer, made in December, that the union membership rejected.

Much of the audience cleared out soon after the vote — including me, because the district’s wireless Internet access was down, so I had to run home and send the story before my 9:15 deadline. But as I headed for the door, I heard Superintendent Tony Smith talking about new beginnings and pay increases for teachers. I stopped and pulled out my laptop again. Here’s what I was able to get down: Continue Reading


Oakland teachers start a blog on strike (and more)

OEA flierFrom the ongoing Oakland teacher contract dispute have emerged at least two new sources of information about the struggle.

Teachers have started a blog, recently posting a downloadable flier (cropped and posted here) and news about canvassing neighborhoods this weekend. The district administration hasn’t started its own website, but it has created a page to explain its position.

On a side note, I can’t find anyone who can remember a teacher contract being imposed in Oakland, as the school board might vote to do tomorrow night. Do you know if this would be a first?

I’ll be tweeting live at the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at 1025 Second Ave. If you’re not on Twitter, that’s OK, you can see the updates anyway by clicking here.


Will Oakland school board impose a contract?

They might. At a 6 p.m. special meeting on Wednesday, the Oakland school board votes on a resolution that would immediately implement the district’s “last, best and final offer” to the teachers, which was made last December and soundly rejected by the union’s membership.

You can read the resolution here and the full story here.

Do you think the board should change course and go back to the bargaining table? What should the union do?


OUSD administration: no more bargaining

Oakland teachers union leaders were in for a surprise this afternoon when they were told that it wouldn’t be necessary to schedule contract talks for next week, as expected.

OUSD Spokesman Troy Flint said the administration felt the fact-finding report wasn’t a good starting point for negotiations. “The fact-finding report acknowledged that we have an inability to pay, then asks for a significant financial contribution without indicating a revenue source, which is irresponsible and doesn’t provide the means to bridge the gap between the two parties,” he said.

He said the recommendations would cost about $5 million.

Continue Reading


The OUSD fact-finding report says…

It’s been a hectic day, and I’m off to interview Diane Ravitch before her 5:30 p.m. talk at UC Berkeley’s Sibley Auditorium. I’ll have some more thoughts on the report later, but for now, here is a copy.

Fact-finding panel Chairman Christopher Burdick recommends, among other things, a shortened work year for Oakland teachers (though the same number of teaching days); to give teachers a 5 percent boost at 28 and at 30 years of service; and a salary schedule increase of 2 percent, effective January 2012, in addition to any revenues generated by a parcel tax.

He also thinks the district should set aside 60 percent of all new, unrestricted state funding for pay increases or to keep class sizes smaller.

What do you think?


Oakland teacher strike, rescheduled (again)

OEA rally, Tribune file photo

The Oakland teachers union has decided to push back its scheduled one-day strike for a second time. It’s now set for Thursday, April 29, not April 22.

The date is linked to the timing of the much anticipated fact-finding report, which a mediator is expected to release to both sides tomorrow. 

The report will officially be made public about 10 days later, after the union and the administration have had one last chance to come to an agreement before the strike. If I happen to get a copy before then, I’ll let you know what’s in it.

The union has also planned informational picketing at schools this Thursday to let families know about the upcoming strike.


The OUSD deficit: Labor weighs in

[Math Alert! While proofreading this entry for print publication, my editor actually tallied up the list of cuts proposed here. Unless I’m missing something, it adds up to more than $43 million, not the $35 million listed in the presentation.]

Seven unions that make up the Oakland Schools Labor Coalition say they have the answer to the Oakland school district’s budget woes: They have identified $35 million to cut from the school district’s general purpose fund. The presentation is posted on Wednesday night’s Oakland school board agenda.

The unions propose the following cutbacks:

  • $10 million in “excess administrators.” (The state has a maximum administrator-to-teacher ratio, and OUSD was fined $1.3 million for having 78 too many administrators in the 2006-07 school year. The unions rounded that number up to 80 and multiplied by $125,000 to reach $10 million.) Continue Reading

Out of work and willing to cross a picket line? Oakland Unified is hiring.

The Oakland school district has posted an ad on Craigslist, offering $300 a day for “emergency temporary teachers” in the event of an Oakland teacher strike. The district will conduct interviews next week in the hopes of finding enough subs willing to cross the picket line.


As of now, a one-day strike over the yet-unsettled teacher contract is planned for April 22. District Spokesman Troy Flint said the district administration hadn’t decided whether to close schools that day, but that “we didn’t want to be caught flat-footed.”

“We’re still holding out some hope that we will resolve this, but we’re trying to be realistic and have a fallback plan,” Flint said.


Oakland teacher strike is postponed

Cancel that babysitter! Oakland schools won’t shut down on March 24, as planned. The one-day teacher strike has been reset to Thursday, April 22.

Why the change? The Oakland teachers union president, Betty Olson-Jones, has announced that the fact-finding recommendations aren’t likely to be completed before the end of March or beginning of April. The union can’t legally strike until that report is out, and spring break is the week of April 4.

“Because this situation remains fluid — i.e. we are not strike legal until the fact-finding report is released, we urge you to keep checking the OEA website for the most up-to-date information,” she wrote in an e-mail to her members.