However the shortage—not just in Sacramento, but in all of California’s schools—is, in large part, the result of the union’s own actions over the last several years.
Opinion: What happens when a union is too powerful? You have constant turmoil and strike threats such as those facing the Sacramento Unified School District. https://t.co/yqEhw3V6bO pic.twitter.com/oR47XuC0YV
— Coopmike48 (@coopmike48) March 16, 2022
The union is protesting the school district’s inability to hire another 250 teachers, 100 substitutes teachers and 400 other union positions, NBC affiliate KCRA reported.
But the school board says that the money just isn’t there and that the district has been living larger than its means for years.
In fact, the board said that the district has struggled for decades with the concept of a balanced budget, according to KCRA.
“For too long, our district has committed to ongoing costs that are greater than ongoing revenues that our district receives from state and federal government,” it said. “We are proud that our board has taken fiscally sound steps toward correcting the long-standing structural imbalances in the district budget.”
Declining enrollment has plunged all over California and has been especially hard hit because the teachers union has been opposed to reopening from COVID.
“I’ve never ever seen a drop in enrollment come all at once like this,” Andy Johnsen, superintendent at San Marcos Unified in north San Diego County, told CalMatters. “The pandemic changed everything.”
Unions in California dug in their heels and chased students away from in-person attendance, citing a demand of zero COVID cases before reopening schools
For instance, the San Diego Education Association insisted on “near zero cases of coronavirus or a downward trajectory in infections for two weeks before its teachers will do their jobs,” said the San Diego News Desk. “They also want frequent testing of students, staff, and teachers along with prevention measures being fully funded.”
One associate superintendent at San Bernardino City Unified School District told CalMatters that the unions’ nonnegotiable position on COVID was like eight years-worth of disenrollments happening in a one-year period.
The strike is supposed to begin on March 23, which will, once again, necessitate the closing for Sacramento schools, said the superintendent. Those closings, in turn, may lead to further student enrollment reductions.