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Oceanside Teachers Association

Oceanside Teachers Association members picket outside of Mission Elementary School. From front to back: Nichelle Donahue, Luz Miller, Laura Mikos, Lucina Gonzalez, Markisha Russell and Maureen Shea-Weston.

In response to contract offers by Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) that do not meet teachers’ legitimate educational concerns, Oceanside Teachers Association (OTA) members have begun a “Mission Critical” campaign that will drive home how many hundreds of hours each week educators donate both in and outside their classrooms to ensure the success of every Oceanside student. The campaign involves Work to Contract Wednesdays, when teachers will only work the hours for which they are contracted and compensated.

OUSD’s unrestricted reserve account has ballooned over the last year to one third more than district projections, from $15.4 to $22.8 million. But the district has continued to deny competitive pay that will help keep its outstanding educators and attract and recruit new ones, in the face of a teacher shortage throughout California.

OTA members have increased their presence at board meetings, rallying while working with parents and building community alliances. “Education begins and ends with us, because we are ‘Mission Critical’ to student success,” says OTA Secretary Tiffany Cooper-Ortega . “We are OTA strong.”

OTA’s bargaining team has created informational videos explaining how OUSD has chosen to add to its already excessive unrestricted reserve instead of paying educators a competitive salary.

Parents and students have joined OTA in support, sharing video messages about the educators who are Mission Critical to their school success.