OAKLAND — As soon as next week, Oakland Unified School District teachers and the administration might return to the bargaining table. But the superintendent doesn't plan to undo last week's contract imposition, and the teachers still plan to strike today.
"It was always our intent to return to the bargaining table, but only under terms that protect the district's financial stability and allow us to balance the budget by July 1," said Troy Flint, the school district spokesman.
The contract implemented last week offers no change in the teacher pay scale or benefit package, but it allows the district to increase class sizes and hire hourly workers, as opposed to contract teachers, for its adult education programs. Those changes will save the district between $1 million and $3 million, according to school board president Gary Yee.
The school board unanimously voted last week to impose the contract, a move that stunned and angered the teacher union, which had already authorized a one-day strike. Schools, with the exception of adult education programs, will be open today, though some will likely be severely understaffed.
Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland teacher union, said at a news conference Wednesday that she was glad the administration wanted to bargain, but she expressed some skepticism. "Yes we'll go back, but we're not going to go back and negotiate a zero percent raise," she said.