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Parents and members of the Raisin City Teachers Association (RCTA) plan to pack the school board meeting Monday night, April 9, to demand the Raisin City Elementary School District (RCESD) honor their word. (The April 9 meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Raisin City Elementary School Cafeteria — 6425 W. Bowles Ave. in Raisin City)

After months of grueling negotiations and mediation, RCTA finally signed a tentative agreement with the RCESD January 24. Teachers ratified the deal within two days. But a few weeks later, the school board voted to only accept part of the agreement. If the board rejects the agreement, the two sides are back to no agreement and will be certified to factfinding and building again towards a potential strike.

“Honor your word, respect Raisin City teachers,” said RCTA President Kim Cooper. “We agreed to a proposal made by RCESD Superintendent Juan Sandoval to increase our workday by 30 minutes. He said the extra time was a ‘must have’ or there’d be no agreement. Well, we agreed because it benefits our students. Now they say they can’t afford their ‘must have’?”

“We agreed in good faith to a settlement that this district can afford and will help attract and retain teachers for Raisin City students,” she added.

Teachers accepted a 5 percent salary raise for 2018-2019 and earned language that gives parents and community members equal voice in developing the district LCAP. Teachers also agreed to increase their work day by 30 minutes, so students can start the day with an intensive intervention program to increase student learning and achievement.

While teachers prefer not to strike, they say they will if they must, for their students. Teachers have tried to visit with school board members, most of whom refused to meet with them.

“This dishonorable behavior by the board short-changes our students and betrays Raisin City teachers,” said Cooper. “Students and teachers deserve better.”