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Sacramento City Unified: Schools close Thursday amid stalled negotiations

Unionized workers and teachers announced a strike amid failed contract negotiations with Sacramento City Unified, impacting thousands of students and families.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Click here for Thursday's coverage of the teacher strike.

Schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) are closed Thursday for day two of the teacher strike, according to district officials.

A statement from SCUSD on Wednesday night asked parents to be prepared to keep their children home from school Thursday as negotiations with labor unions continue.

"We have indicated that, at this time unless something changes, our schools are going to be closed for instruction tomorrow [Thursday]. As of Friday, that is still to be determined, but we will do everything we can to communicate as early as possible tomorrow," said Superintendent Jorge Aguilar.

He said the district's goal is to get students back in the classroom Friday. However, there's nothing definite yet. The situation is still fluid with a lot to be determined.

"We are doing everything that we can to communicate to our families via email, via text, via robocalls as well, posting on Facebook, posting on social media as well," Aguilar said.

He hopes that the situation can come to an end soon and bring back their students and employees.

The Wednesday strike followed failed negotiations on Tuesday. The district and unions have been at odds over issues surrounding staffing, better pay, training and health benefits.

"The important thing, unfortunately, is that we didn't reach an agreement. We didn't avert a strike, we had a strike now, my hope is that that strike will not endure," Aguilar said.

Aguilar said that the district made an offer to return to the bargaining table Tuesday evening hadn't heard back when ABC10 spoke with him around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

As educators took to the picket lines, one senior, Phoenix Leri, at McClatchy High School spoke out, expressing support for her teachers fighting to get better working conditions.

"We will stand for you every day that you are out here on strike," she said. "We will demand that the board and (Jorge) Aguilar give you fair pay for the work that you are doing here."

It was the first day of striking for the teachers, but it doesn't appear to be their last. The SCTA said no negotiations have been had, echoing similar sentiments that the district had.

Erin Macy, a teacher at SCUSD, said she didn’t think she’d actually be striking Wednesday.

“I’m sad that it’s happening of course, but I’m here to fight for my students, to fight for my family and to fight for myself," she said. "We deserve better as teachers and the district has shown us a complete lack of respect and we deserve respect.”

They say the mediator has said they won’t bring both sides together unless something substantive is proposed.

“I’m part of the SCTA bargaining team," Macy said. “It’s extremely frustrating when your employer comes to the table and says this is their proposal with no explanation. It’s extremely frustrating when your employer comes to the bargaining table and then says they’re going to go caucus for 15 minutes and don’t come back for 16 hours.”

Aguilar said that the district's proposal cover a majority of recommendations  and, in some instances, go beyond them.

"We believe that those proposals, take into consideration and cover the vast majority of those recommendations and should serve as the framework to return our students back to their schools," Aguilar said.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg released a statement about the strike, asking all involved to return to the negotiating table. 

“For the sake of kids, parents, teachers, and all Sac City workers, I implore the parties to continue to do everything possible to end this strike immediately," Steinberg said. "Kids have missed enough school. Their education and mental health are at stake. They will continue to suffer if the adults continue to fight amongst themselves."

The district’s updated proposals can be viewed HERE.

Student lunches

Before the strike was announced, the Sacramento City Unified School District said students will still be able to access school meals.

The district said pre-bagged meals will be available at each school site. There will also be several large mobile drive-up distributions at community locations between 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. 

Community organizations have also stepped up and are offering free meals. Families can pick up meals at:

  • Shiloh Baptist Church, 3565 9th Ave.
  • YMCA, 2021 W. St.
  • Boys and Girls Club, 5212 Lemon Hill
  • Raley's Supermarket, 4690 Freeport Blvd.
  • Raley’s Supermarket, 8391 Folsom Blvd.
  • La Familia Maple Neighborhood Center, 3301 37th Avenue
  • Old Florin Tech School, 24th St. and Florin Rd. 
  • Floyd Farms, 401 A McClatchy Way

Students can pick up their meals between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.


WATCH MORE: Schools to close as Sacramento teachers go on strike | 11 p.m. update

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