SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As staffing issues continue to worsen within the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), two unions representing teachers in the district, Sacramento City Teachers Association and Service Employees International Union 1021, are planning to go on strike if an agreement isn't reached by March 23.
"We went through this mediation process. We have a recommendation from the mediator. We've accepted that recommendation. The district has rejected it evidently," said David Fisher, President of Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA).
Dozens of teachers, support staff and parents joined SCTA on Sunday afternoon stapling picket signs and creating posters ahead of Wednesday's potential strike. Fisher says 10,000 students don't have a regular teacher in the classroom every day due to staffing shortages.
"For many of our students, schools have been closed at least intermittently all year because we don't have enough educators to staff the school system," Fisher said.
Fisher, who's also a second grade teacher within SCUSD, says, amid the staffing crisis, the district is cutting teachers pay causing more educators to go work at surrounding school districts that offer more competitive pay.
"While the Superintendent is demanding these huge cuts to teacher compensation, he continually receives lucrative increases," Fisher said.
SCTA's first Vice President Nikki Milevsky says an additional 600 students waiting to get into an independent study program haven't been able to learn at all.
"They don't feel safe coming to school in person. They want to learn from home, and our district hasn't provided them with any education all year," Milevsky said. "It's got to be changed — we believe this strike is completely preventable. The district just needs to come to the table."
The SCTA plans to meet with the Sacramento City Unified School District on Monday.
In a letter to parents on its website, SCUSD wrote Friday, "we have made the difficult decision to close all campuses if a strike takes place beginning on Wednesday, March 23, 2022."