SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With just days until it’s back to school for Sacramento City Unified students, families don’t know exactly what to expect for more than the first two days.

“My child is moving to a new school where he knows no one,” Sarah Williams-Kingsley, one of many parents concerned about what the school year from a distance may look like, said. “We need teachers to actually teach our kids.”

Several families feel left in the dark, wondering how much live instruction their kids may have daily, and how much they’ll have to work at on their own. It’s one of the reasons behind a lack of agreement between the district and the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA).

The topic of how much screen time students should spend in live instruction versus independent learning dominates much of the discussion. David Fisher, president of the SCTA, feels the district’s proposal, outlined in a previous CBS13 article, is too much.

“They’re requiring more than any other district is requiring and, of course, more than what we recommend,” Fisher said.

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For example, for first through third grade, the two differ by 75 minutes: the district recommends 185 minutes of live instruction while the teachers association suggests 110 minutes. The rest of the time students would work on their own. The district feels more live instruction is the way to go.

“That one-on-one time makes all the additional difference in making sure they actually master the subject matter,” Jessie Ryan, the SCUSD board president said.

Response from both parties on this district debacle, though, receives a failing grade from many parents in the area.

“This agreement is really important,” Williams-Kingsley said. “I don’t anticipate our kids will be able to really return to physical school for quite some time, right? This time is their time.”

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SCUSD parent Tamara Engel hopes for the best, wanting a solution soon.

“I want it to work,” Engel said. “I want it to be the best thing it can be for all the kids.”

But with the district and its teachers union in a deadlock, students will start with a shortened schedule on Thursday.

The district also told CBS13 other issues of concern between both parties involve services for students special needs and more vulnerable populations; something the district said they have a legal obligation to provide and should not be a part of negotiations.

Heather Janssen

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