The Calaveras Unified School District will be closed to its 2,900 students Thursday and Friday after failed teacher contract negotiations led to a strike.
Calaveras Unified Educators’ Association leaders were in contract negotiations with district leaders until late Wednesday but could not reach an agreement. The district’s 138 teachers will go on strike Thursday and Friday, demanding higher pay, lower class sizes, safety concerns, and district curriculum.
"We don't want to strike, but we will for our kids," said CUEA President Lorraine Angel in a press release. "We wanted to settle our contract dispute, but this district has unfortunately made it clear that students are not a top priority.”
District Superintendent Mark Campbell said he was hoping to reach a deal but the two parties couldn’t agree on salary increases.
“We want our teachers back in the class, we want our kids served by our teachers, and we do want to increase compensation,” Campbell said.
The district offered a 2 percent increase and the teachers union is demanding 6.5 percent, Campbell said.
Lauren Millmore is a parent in support of the teacher’s demands.
“They have a big parent support," Millmore said. "We don’t want them to back down from their fair contract."
The classified staff union, which encompasses employees like bus drivers and janitors, agreed on Wednesday to back the teachers in a sympathy strike.
On Thursday and Friday, teachers plan to picket. District leaders initially intended on keeping the doors to its schools open in the event of a strike. However, not enough substitute teachers responded in time and schools will close Thursday and Friday.
Athletics are being allowed to proceed as normal, given that the team has an assistant or volunteer coach that is not a teacher in the district that can fill in.