The Latest: Striking teachers rally at Oakland City Hall

The Latest: Striking teachers rally at Oakland City Hall Photo: AP

February 21, 2019 02:51 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a teachers' strike in Oakland, California (all times local):

12:35 p.m.

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Thousands of teachers, parents and students holding picket signs are rallying outside City Hall in Oakland, California, on the first day of a teachers' strike.

Picketers chanted "We are Oakland!" and some held signs saying "Kids Deserve Better."

Forty-nine-year-old Laravian Battle, a math teacher at Soujourner Truth alternative high school was among Thursday's protesters. She was named Oakland Unified's Teacher of the Year in 2016-17.

Battle blamed district mismanagement for budget cuts that have affected schools.

Bret Harte Middle School math teacher Lakiesha Golden, who is 49, says Oakland teachers work in one of the most challenging districts with the lowest pay.

District spokesman John Sasaki says officials boosted their offer to teachers on Wednesday and are waiting for a counteroffer from the union.

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11:05 a.m.

An Oakland Unified School District spokesman says negotiations with striking teachers will resume Friday and that school administrators hope to get a counter proposal from the union.

Spokesman John Sasaki says the district on Wednesday increased its proposal to a 7-percent raise over four years and a one-time 1.5 percent bonus. Its previous offer was 5 percent over 3 years.

He says it's now up to the teachers union to respond.

Sasaki says the district is already making cuts worth $22 million and that its financial situation makes it difficult "to make any more movement."

The city's 3,000 teachers went on strike Thursday to demand a 12-percent retroactive raise covering 2017 to 2020.

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10:05 a.m.

Oakland kindergarten teacher Kaki Blackburn says she is striking to demand a smaller class size and higher wages. Teachers went on strike Thursday seeking higher wages and smaller classes.

They are the latest in the U.S. to go on strike in recent months. Teachers in West Virginia, Denver and Los Angeles have staged walkouts over the last year.

Blackburn says her class has 29 children and that on the first day of school, there weren't enough desks for all the kids.

Blackburn was one of dozens of teachers outside Manzanita Community School, an elementary school, carrying signs saying "On strike For a Living Wage."

Manzanita Principal Eyana Spencer says 14 of the school's 450 students turned up for school Thursday.

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8:05 a.m.

Teachers in Oakland, California, have gone on strike demanding smaller class sizes and a 12 percent retroactive raise.

They are the latest in the U.S. to go on strike in recent months. Teachers in West Virginia, Denver and Los Angeles have staged walkouts over the last year.

The city's 3,000 teachers are demanding a 12 percent retroactive raise covering 2017 to 2020 to compensate for what they say are among the lowest salaries for public school teachers in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area.

They also want the district to hire more counselors to support students and more full-time nurses.

The walkout is expected to affect 36,000 students at 86 schools.

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7:40 a.m.

The leader of the union representing Oakland's teachers says teachers are being forced to go on strike because administrators refused to listen to their demands for two years.

Oakland Education Association president Keith Brown spoke Thursday ahead of a strike set to start at 8 a.m.

Brown says the union has been negotiating with the school district "to make our students a priority over outside consultants and central office administrators."

He adds "it's time for them to listen to the voices of the community."

The teachers want smaller class sizes, more counselors and full-time nurses, and a 12 percent retroactive raise.

Oakland educators will be the latest in the nation to go on strike. Teachers in West Virginia, Denver and Los Angeles have gone on strike in the last year.

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7 a.m.

Teachers are picketing in Oakland, California ahead of the country's latest strike by educators over classroom conditions and pay.

About 40 teachers are walking in a circle outside Oakland Tech High School holding green signs that read "On Strike Against Unfair Labor Practices."

The teachers are demanding a 12 percent raise and smaller class sizes.

The Oakland Educators Association called for the strike Wednesday after rejecting a proposal from the district for a 7 percent raise over four years and a one-time 1.5 percent bonus.

The walkout expected to start when school bells ring at 8 a.m. will affect 36,000 students at 86 schools.

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12 a.m.

Teachers in Oakland, California, plan to raise picket signs Thursday for the country's latest strike by educators over classroom conditions and pay.

The city's 3,000 teachers are demanding a 12 percent retroactive raise covering 2017 to 2020 to compensate for what they say are among the lowest salaries for public school teachers in the exorbitantly expensive San Francisco Bay Area.

They also want the district to hire more counselors to support students and more full-time nurses.

The walkout is expected to affect 36,000 students at 86 schools.

The Oakland Educators Association called for the strike Wednesday after rejecting a proposal from the district for a 7 percent raise over four years and a one-time 1.5 percent bonus.

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