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Sacramento City Teachers Union Announces Strike Deadline

Julia Mitric / Capital Public Radio

Sacramento City Teachers Association members at a rally announcing a possible strike Nov. 3, 2017.

Julia Mitric / Capital Public Radio

Negotiations between the Sacramento City Unified School District and its teachers have stalled. The teachers’ union says it'll strike beginning Nov. 8 unless a settlement can be reached.

Thursday night more than a hundred teachers rallied outside the district's headquarters ahead of a school board meeting.

They say they want smaller classroom sizes and salaries that are comparable to similar districts in California.

Michelle Gisler teaches third grade at Matsuyama Elementary. She said Sacramento City Unified schools lack adequate librarians, nurses and services for disabled students. Gisler argues without those offerings the district can't attract and retain new teachers.

"Many of them are going to be here two to three years and then they're going to start to question, 'Why am I staying in this district when the neighboring school districts are respecting teachers and they're providing their students with the services they need?'" Gisler said.

Sacramento City Unified's Alex Barrios said the district is offering teachers a 6 percent raise, including 2.5 percent retroactively for the previous school year and 3.5 percent for this year.

Barrios said superintendent Jorge Aguilar wants to set aside $4.5 million in one-time funding for arts, health and social services programs.

"And so he wants to make sure that we preserve enough funding to pay for these programs for our kids and that we're not using it all towards teachers' salary raises," Barrios said."

Aguilar took over as superintendent in July.

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