September 2016 - On Sept. 8, members of the Stockton Teachers Association (STA) voted 97.2 percent to authorize their executive board to call a strike as necessary to stop the mismanagement and wrongheaded prioritization that are harming Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) students.
The 1,800 members of STA have been battling since June 2015 to get the Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) to make the classroom and students the top priority. The district has received millions of dollars in Local Control Funding Formula funds aimed at helping its students, 90 percent of whom are categorized as “high poverty.”
STA says SUSD should use these funds to increase educator salaries and benefits, which will stanch the flow of teachers to other districts and make it easier for the district to attract and retain highly qualified new teachers, especially during a statewide teacher shortage.
Instead, SUSD attached its contract offer to 30 more instructional minutes four days a week. STA says students and teachers do not need longer school days — in fact, the extra minutes are dangerous, since many students have long commutes and would be walking or traveling home in the dark.
“Our students are being harmed by this management malfeasance,” says STA President Erich Myers. “Despite receiving millions in new state funding aimed at helping our neediest students, the district is refusing to use any of that funding to support high-quality teaching. Worse yet, district management has robbed our students by squirreling away dollars intended for the classroom in what is now an obscenely large reserve fund.”