SAN RAMON (KPIX 5) — Teachers in one East Bay school district say they’re prepared to strike if they can’t reach an agreement on a new contract. On Tuesday night, more than 400 teachers showed up at the San Ramon Valley Unified School Board meeting to protest.
They’ve all been working without a contract since June, and now they say negotiations are at a standstill.
“What do we want? Fair contracts! When do we want it? Now!” chanted the teachers as they demonstrated in front of the school board office.
“We don’t want to strike, but we will,” said Ann Katzburg, the San Ramon Valley Education Association President.
The teachers say the district has already agreed to a 4% pay raise.
The sticking points now are smaller class sizes, additional programs for special needs students, and more school counselors and psychologists. District representatives say the board wants to provide more services for students, but they simply don’t have the money–partly due to a decline in enrollment.
“It’s a hard area to move into, just like anywhere in the Bay Area, so we’re not seeing kids moving in, so we are seeing far more kids graduate than are enrolling in kindergarten,” says Christopher George, the spokesperson for San Ramon Valley Unified School District.
“I don’t want to be here, and I feel frustrated that we have to be back here year after year, and I truly hope that this changes,” says Katzburg.
According to the teachers union, 98% of the members voted to strike if they aren’t able to reach an agreement soon.
Both sides will be back at the bargaining table on Wednesday. The teacher’s union is holding an open house next Thursday, March 12, at 7:00 p.m. at San Ramon Valley High School to gain community support.