By Roland Li | San Francisco Chronicle
Oakland teachers will strike Thursday in a call for higher wages and more investment in city schools, union officials announced Saturday.
Teachers have been working without a contract since July 2017 and can’t afford to live in the city, said Keith Brown, president of the Oakland Education Association, which represents 3,000 educators. High housing costs have led to more than 18 percent of teachers leaving each year, according to a fact-finding report released Friday.
“Our students do not have adequate support,” Brown said at a news conference Saturday. He was surrounded by three dozen teachers, parents and students holding signs and cheering in support of the strike.
The Oakland Unified School District “is failing our schools,” he said, and it is failing Oakland students.
Teacher salaries range from $46,750 per year to $83,724 per year, according to school district data, which the union said is the lowest rate in Alameda County. The school district spends an additional $13,487 per teacher annually to provide full health benefits for educators and their families.
The pay is for 186 days a year, which works out to just more than 37 five-day weeks.
The school district is offering a 5 percent retroactive wage increase from 2017 to 2020. The teachers union wants a 12 percent raise over the same time period. Brown said teachers would strike for as long as it takes to reach a deal. In 1996, a strike by Oakland teachers lasted for five weeks.