GRAPHIC: What Oakland Teachers Wanted Vs. What They Got

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

This article is more than 3 years old.
Oakland teachers, joined by student supporters, march down Adeline Street in West Oakland on Feb. 22, 2019, the second day of a districtwide teachers strike.  (Stephanie Lister/KQED)

Oakland teachers on Sunday approved a new contract, ending a seven-day districtwide strike that all but shut down schools throughout the city.

But while union officials jubilantly declared the hard-fought agreement "a win in every major proposal," many teachers were far from satisfied and felt that a number of their demands had been largely overlooked.

The portion of the contract that addressed phased-in raises and modest class-size reductions was ratified by just 58 percent of the roughly 2,000 teachers and other union members who cast ballots on Sunday. In contrast, striking Los Angeles teachers approved their new contract in January by a margin of 81 percent.

"There's a lot of disappointment," said Kathleen Bailey, who teaches English and U.S. government at Oakland Technical High School. "It looks like we just got a raise, and one that doesn't even really keep up with inflation at that, when what we really wanted was schools that would offer better supports."

The following two graphics, by KQED's Elena Lacey, illustrate what teachers were demanding when they went on strike and what they eventually got as part of their new contract. The first graphic shows how the average Oakland teacher salary of $63,000 will change over the term of the approved contract, as compared to what teachers had asked for. Unlike the 12 percent increase over three years — retroactive to the 2017-18 school year — that teachers had pushed for, the new contract includes an 11 percent raise starting in 2019 through the 2021-22 school year, and a one-time 3 percent bonus. Neither of the graphs factor in other pay increases teachers may receive based on additional hours in the classroom.

The graphs also show the percent change in the Bay Area consumer price index — which is one measure of cost of living — based on the five-year average of 3.1 percent.


Pay raises: What Oakland teachers wanted in a new contract, and what they received. (Elena Lacey/KQED)

The graphic below shows the change in caseloads for various school support positions.


Support staff caseloads: what was asked for and what the new contract provides. (Elena Lacey/KQED)

Bailey said that although she's happy the contract includes additional support for immigrant newcomer students, she's particularly disappointed that it only marginally reduces caseloads for counselors and makes no reductions in caseloads for nurses, despite the critical need for more of those positions in the district.

"There's real anger that the nurses were forgotten when they stood so strong with us on the line and their caseloads are so horrific," Bailey said. "But maybe the biggest pain is that there was no movement on the issue of school closures."