SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The Sacramento Unified School District bargaining team met with the Sacramento City Teachers Association Friday to find an agreement that works for both sides that would decide how to make up for lost instructional time due to an eight-day strike that ended at the beginning of April.
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From the first school bell of the year to the last days of class, California schools are required to meet a minimum number of instructional days and minutes each year. The Department of Education requires 180 days of school and specifies a minimum number of total instructional minutes, varying by grade level.
Many school districts pad in extra days with things like teacher in-service days, just in case.
In March 2022, CBS13 Investigative Reporter Julie Watts broke down the ripple effects that are now proposed as additional learning days tacked on to the end of the school year.
SCUSD proposed additional instruction days, extending reduced Thursday schedules by one hour for six weeks, and a requirement for teachers to provide instruction and services to students on the extended days as a way to “recover salary forfeited during the pandemic.”
The full proposal, which includes ten points of understanding, is on the table for review Friday afternoon.
According to a Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) spokesperson, the two sides agree that the agreement must make up for any learning loss and must prevent any loss of state funds. However, the spokesperson told CBS13 that SCTA would not comment on the proposal because negotiations are ongoing. They want to ensure a “free exchange” at the bargaining table.
In his first sit-down interview with CBS13 since the end of the strike, SCUSD Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said sharing the district’s proposal publicly now and during the strike was an opportunity to be transparent with the SCUSD community.READ MORE: 'I Cannot Safely Return To Work': West Campus Vice Principal Dr. Elysse Versher Resigns, Citing History Of Racial And Sexual Harassment
He said the goal of the district’s proposal is to ensure students receive quality instruction.
“This is not ideal and I hope this is the last time we have to address something like this,” said Aguilar on Friday, two hours before the negotiations began.
He said he’s heard frustrations on a possible extension to the school year from parents, families, and teachers.
“There’s still a lot of tension and we should be open about that; we should talk about the tension that exists in our community. I feel it, I hear it in communications I’ve had with many individuals,” said Aguilar.
“We absolutely do want to honor all of our employees who would be providing the instruction over those additional days that we have proposed,” said Aguilar when asked why teachers would see the strike days taken out of their May paycheck, as part of the current proposal, with the ability to earn it back in June during additional instructional days.
“There’s a function here around payroll and how payroll functions, and sort of, how the timeline works,” Aguilar said.
According to SCUSD, between potential fines and the budget outlook, there could be cuts to programs that “directly support and serve students.”
“We did everything that we did to look at both the long-term effects of our budget and also demonstrate the value of all of our employees. We see the effect. I’m not here to say, ‘I told you this was going to happen,’ but we also treat a negative certification very seriously,” said Aguilar.MORE NEWS: 'The Saddest Thing I've Ever Seen': Community Shaken After 3-Year-Old Dies In Arden-Arcade Fourplex Fire
Bargaining on the proposed memorandum of understanding continued Friday afternoon.