Educators anticipate District’s decision toward a proposed educational initiative
For the past year, Sacramento teachers, students and parents have rallied for the acceptance of an educational initiative to make Sacramento a Destination District for California. The Board of Education’s rejection of the proposal moved educators and other Sacramento Unified School District faculty to approve a strike with 97.2 percent endorsement.
“It’s the last thing we want to do,” said Nate Starace, a social science teacher at C.K. McClatchy High School. “We get into teaching for the students, but the process has been so long. There’s been every opportunity to avoid a strike. At some point, you do have to take a stand.”
Proponents of the Destination District proposal call attention to the initiative’s potential to positively impact Sac City students and teachers. The Destination District plan proposes to lower class sizes, ensure credentialed educators for each classroom, improve psychologist- and nurse-to-student ratios, better resource special education programs and increase student accessibility to arts, music and physical education, among other district goals.
While the district has rejected the proposal on multiple occasions, citing financial stability concerns, the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) continues to point out that the district is more financially secure than it has ever been, making now the perfect time to fund the initiative. According to statements from the SCTA, the district’s reserves ballooned 320 percent over the past four years, reaching over $81 million. While the district continues to hire new administrators with increasing salaries, Sacramento has the lowest average salary for veteran teachers in comparison to all other California school districts.
In Calaveras County, teachers recently went on strike for four days before securing a deal with the Calaveras Unified School District to improve student and teacher prospects. In a statement released on Oct. 24, the Calaveras Unified Educators’ Association stated that a new contract with the district will help reduce class sizes, resolve school safety issues and alter teacher salary schedules in order to enhance recruitment and retainment of qualified educators.
David Fisher, the president of the SCTA and a teacher and parent of Sacramento students, equates the District’s rejection of the proposal on the grounds of financial stability concerns to financial misappropriation.
“This is what we say, ‘It’s great in your family — you should save for retirement. But not before you’ve fed your kids,’” Fisher said.
Sacramento educators will wait until Nov. 1 for the fact-finding panel to make a “non-binding recommendation, which either party can reject or accept.” SCTA members hope that the proceedings of the panel will negate the necessity for teachers to strike. However, with an overwhelming majority of educators in favor of a potential strike, a final rejection by the district would likely result in the closure of many Sacramento classrooms before a resettlement in favor of the Destination District proposal is reached.
Written by: Eliana Sisneros — firstname.lastname@example.org