SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As negotiations continue, a seventh day of school closures is underway for the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD).
At least three parents camped out overnight at SCUSD headquarters as district reps said schools would be closed yet again on Thursday.
The parents said they wanted to make their presence known, and increase the pressure.
"If we can sit in this district office and say 'We are going to sit here until something changes', there's no reason that (Superintendent Jorge Aguilar) cannot do it," one parent told ABC10.
Teachers who said they were tired of waiting around on negotiations, came to district headquarters on Wednesday to see if the school district would sit down with them and work toward a resolution.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 vice president Dan Schallock said crowds showed up at the Serna Center to get things resolved.
"That community walked in and said, 'We're here to seek resolution, and we're not here to just talk about it. We're not here to post it on social media. We're here to actually get it done and make it happen," Schallock said.
He said teachers walked into the building peacefully, but with a strong intention to make bargaining happen.
"You know, we've tried to explain to kids why this has taken six days, and we can't come up with an explanation. We'd like to get this solved today," Schallock said.
David Fisher, a second grade teacher and president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA), said he wanted to see if the district would meet with them in person. So far, they've seen movement.
"A couple of the district are on Zoom, but our team is here at the Serna Center, the district headquarters, and we have had an initial meeting with the district and now they're in what they call 'a caucus to talk'," Fisher said.
On Wednesday, the district passed a proposal to SCTA that they said boosted the ongoing salary offer to 3% for the 2021-22 school year, provided an additional stipend for the 2023-2024 school year for employees still enrolled in the district’s HealthNet benefit plan as of June 30, 2023. Officials said the proposal would provide a 10.65% increase in pay for SCTA-represented employees through one-time stipends and an ongoing salary increase.
However, the proposal was not met favorably by union leaders.
"We’re very, very disappointed that the district is concentrating much more on press releases than actually working with our labor partners to resolve these and to get our kids back into school,” said Nikki Milevsky, vice president of the SCTA.
Schallock called the proposal "nonsense."
"I think that at this point, we’re just dealing with somebody’s ego instead of trying to seek resolution,” he said.
In a video posted to YouTube, Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said the proposal is trying to address long standing challenges that previous officials weren't able to address.
"We've proposed using one-time funds to honor our employees and provide a soft landing to address our unsustainable health benefit costs," Aguilar said. "We've also offered an ongoing salary increase that balances, again, our long-term fiscal responsibility. And we also seek to remove the County Office of Education's fiscal oversight, so that we can operate just as the other 12 districts do in our county."