#RedforEd: Oakland Teachers End Strike with 11% Raise over 4 Years; District Risks ‘Financial Distress’

Oakland teachers strike (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

Oakland teachers have voted to end their strike an will return to work Monday after securing an 11% raise over four years — more than double what an arbitrator suggested, and that may plunge the school district into insolvency.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

The deal gives 3,000 teachers and staff members an 11 percent raise spread over four years, plus a one-time 3 percent bonus, but many teachers and their union said they feel that their fight for educational improvements is just beginning.

Besides the raises, the contract reduces caseloads for counselors, resource specialists, psychologists and speech therapists. It trims classes at the highest-need schools by one next year, followed by a reduction of another one in 2021 at all schools. Nurses receive the salary increase plus 9 percent, as well as $10,000 bonuses in both 2019-20 and 2020-21. Substitute teachers receive higher pay plus a retention bonus after 60 days.

Surprisingly, EdSource notes, only 58 percent of Oakland teachers voted for the deal, which was substantially more generous than the deal Los Angeles teachers won earlier this year. As Breitbart News reported, the teachers’ union failed to win any major concessions on salary in L.A., yet only 18 percent of L.A. teachers voted against the deal.

Edsource also notes that there are serious doubts whether the Oakland school district can afford the deal (original link):

In both Oakland and Los Angeles there remains a great deal of uncertainty about how the districts will pay for what they agreed to. In Los Angeles, Debra Duardo, the county superintendent of schools, said that the district has yet to address a projected $500 million operating deficit in 2021-22, and that the bargaining agreement “continues to move the district to insolvency.” In Oakland, Najeeb Khoury, in his official fact-finding report issued before the strike, doubted that the district could afford anywhere near a 12 percent salary increase.  Chris Learned, the state trustee appointed to approve budget expenditures, also suggested before the strike that such an increase ran the risk of putting “the district in financial distress.”

Teachers wanted a 12% raise over three years; Khoury had recommended 3% each year for two years, followed by a negotiation in the third year.

Both strikes were part of the “#RedforEd” movement, a nationwide mobilization of teachers — often against the efforts of wealthy liberal school reformers, who have pumped money into charter schools and ballot initiatives. The movement is also thought to be an effort to organize teachers ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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