Sacramento school district threatens bankruptcy to extort concessions from teachers
31 January 2019
As school districts in Oakland and Los Angeles, California prepare for new spending cuts in the face of widespread teacher and working class opposition, the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) in the state’s capital is also preparing draconian cuts.
SCUSD officials recently announced they have until November to find $16 million in cuts to avoid a state takeover. An additional $16 million in cuts, they said, must be found in advance of the following school year.
The Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA), has been in contract negotiations with the district for over a year. Negotiations are currently stalled and although the SCTA is threatening to call a strike by the more than 2,800 Sacramento teachers is has not set a timeline or even called a strike authorization vote. In 2017, a strike was averted after the union reached an agreement providing a paltry 2.5 percent salary increase for teachers each year for three years. The last time teachers struck in Sacramento was in 1989.
To push through the cuts, the district is relying upon the collaboration of the five district unions covering school employees: the SCTA, United Professional Educators (UPE) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021. “It’s going to be very difficult for us to achieve the cost savings we need if not all bargaining partners are at the table,” said office of education spokesman Alex Barrios.
The SCTA has countered the district’s financial assessments with claims that revenues actually increased by more than $120 million between the 2013-2014 and 2017-2018 school years. In spite of this, the SCTA has already accepted the district’s austerity…