Sacramento teachers strike for smaller class size

Teachers and other school staff protest in Sacramento. Photo by Caithness E. Caldo, EBC Sacramento Bureau, Eagle News Service.

By Caithness E. Caldo
EBC Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO, California (Eagle News) — Teachers, counselors, and various staff members of the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) gathered Thursday morning as a call to action in honoring a promise.

In November 2017, SCUSD signed a contract promising to decrease classroom sizes and to provide additional services to students. According to the contract, the district would allocate its funds to enact these changes to the curriculum. However, since the agreement was signed, the contract has not been honored and teachers continue to teach to a large number of students with limited funds.

The Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) rallied staff members and supporters outside the SCUSD district office, Serna Center, on 47th Ave. in an effort to raise awareness that the contract not being honored.

Jennifer Wiese, Training Specialist for the District Curriculum and Instruction Office, implored “the superintendent, the school board to honor [the] contract, honor [their] word, and obey the law.”

Teachers from neighboring districts such as Oakland, Folsom, San Juan, and Twin Rivers also showed support for the cause by joining the strike.

SCTA supporters marched holding signs that read “Keep Your Promises to Our Kids” and “STUDENTS…We’ve Got Your Back”. Morning commuters honked their cars to show support, while other supporters throughout the city held similar strikes on various school premises.

Special education teacher Kim Holmes of John Morris Therapy Center commented on the importance of their services for students.

“Our kids need support,” Holmes said. “They need it for more than just teachers.”

Cynthia Vierra, a school psychologist for John Morris Therapy Center, also emphasized the importance of upholding the contract.

“The contract was supposed to put personnel toward the kids,” Vierra said. “The teachers took a hit and gave up many things to put the money towards the kids.”

One of the sacrifices Vierra spoke of is the change in health care benefits. She explained that employees of SCUSD were asked to alter their health benefits so they could save money and use it for the 2017 contract. However, the savings SCUSD incurred was used instead to cover the district’s deficit.

Pledged supporters of SCTA claim the district acted unfairly and unlawfully but hope the contract will be honored. Students K-12 and educators of Sacramento await the district’s next course of action.

Photo by Caithness E. Caldo, EBC Sacramento Bureau, Eagle News Service.

(Eagle News Service)