TOMORROW: Hundreds of SCUSD Educators and School Staff Joined by Parents and Community Supporters to Rally for Adequate Staffing, Support for Students and Fair Contracts
Every day 3,000 SCUSD students go without a substitute teacher and nearly 600 students go without any instruction due to a lack of independent study instructors.
**MEDIA ADVISORY FOR THURS. 3/17**
Contact: Jennie Smith-Camejo, SEIU 1021, firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 710-0201
Jamie Horwitz, email@example.com, (202) 549-4921
SACRAMENTO — Hundreds of teachers, school staff, and members of Sac City’s school community, frustrated over the Sacramento Unified School District’s failure to address severe staffing issues and to adequately serve the needs of students, will rally outside the Serna Center tomorrow, Thurs., March 17, at 4pm, prior to the SCUSD school board meeting.
Last Thursday, educators belonging to the Sacramento City Teachers Association and classified school staff who are members of SEIU Local 1021 voted by 95% and 97% respectively to authorize a strike.
Who/What: Rally by educators and school staff, joined by parents and community supporters calling for adequate staffing, support for students, and fair contracts.
When/Where: Thurs., March 17, at 4pm, Serna Center, 5735 47th Ave, Sacramento
Since classes resumed in January, between 3,000 and 5,000 SCUSD students a day have gone without a substitute teacher in their classroom. The district has failed to offer any instruction to 571 students who are unable to attend in-person and applied for independent study. School bus drivers have such a critical staffing shortage that many are having to double and triple their routes, leading to overcrowded buses with no social distancing. Short-staffing has also led to an inability for custodial staff to keep up with cleaning and sanitation needs that have only increased due to the pandemic. Unaddressed health and safety lapses caused SCUSD to be cited last week by Cal OSHA.
“As educators, we have a moral responsibility to advocate for our students,” said SCTA President David Fisher, a second-grade teacher. The district has the funds to address its staffing issues and the money and resources to tackle other problems raised in contract talks that have been going on since July of last year.
Due to a significant infusion in funds from state and federal sources, this year SCUSD has received a record $20,855 per student. The district also has large cash reserves of $125 million dollars, the highest in SCUSD history.
“We don’t have a money crisis, we have a values crisis,” said Fisher. “We suffer from fiscal mismanagement and district managers with misplaced priorities.”
Currently the district is short 250 teachers, 100 substitutes, and an additional 400 classified staffing positions for jobs such as school bus drivers, custodians and instructional aides.
“We know who suffers the most from this staffing crisis: our students and their families. When staff and educators are stretched too thin, kids pay the price. Our working conditions are their learning conditions. Sac City students and families deserve better. And they’re not going to get it until the district starts valuing its employees, from bus drivers and nutrition service workers to teachers,” said Karla Faucett, a professional development specialist with 18 years in the district, who serves as the SCUSD chapter president of SEIU Local 1021. “Our members have spoken loud and clear: They are prepared to strike to ensure that all Sac City students receive the education they deserve.”
SEIU Local 1021 represents nearly 60,000 employees in local governments, non-profit agencies, health care programs, and schools throughout Northern California, including seven private colleges and numerous community colleges. SEIU Local 1021 is a diverse, member-driven organization with members who work to make our cities, schools, colleges, counties, and special districts safe and healthy places to live and raise our families.
The Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) founded in 1921 represents 2,800 certificated educators, including K-12, special education, adult education and resource teachers; school nurses, librarians, psychologists, social workers, and including 600 substitute teachers. SCTA is affiliated with the 310,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3 million-member National Education Association (NEA). For more information, visit www.sacteachers.org