(Friday, March 1, 2019)

Dear Friends and Allies,

Today, OEA educators and community groups are asking friends and allies to join our picket lines at our school sites from 6:30 – 10:30am. Following our pickets, at 11am we will be picketing at La Escuelita, where the OUSD Board plans to have a 2pm meeting, despite the fact that they have failed to fully-fund our classrooms and an end to the plan to close schools in Oakland’s Black and Latinx neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the OUSD board plans to make cuts today to crucial student services, and to our SEIU brothers and sisters’ positions. OUSD has been divesting from our schools and our classrooms for years, and the central message of our strike has been that it is time for those practices to end. We believe that these budget cuts — at a time when OUSD still hasn’t reached a fair agreement with us after seven days on strike — continue that same pattern. We respect and value our community partners, AND we can not stand by while OUSD keeps starving our schools.  

We are categorically opposed to cuts to student services or to our SEIU brothers and sisters in the name of a teacher raise. We know that there is money in the District to pay for our demands (including class size reduction and additional student supports) without these cuts. We cannot control all of the District’s decisions but we can denounce them. These cuts can not be done in our name.

At OEA rep council yesterday, by the request of student organizers, a motion passed almost unanimously stating “No cuts to direct student services, specifically APISA, RJ, or foster youth case managers, in the name of teacher raises.” After all, our strike is ultimately FOR OUR STUDENTS who we LOVE. This week has been a beautiful show of the unity and strength of teachers, parents and students united. We will not let the District or anyone else tear us apart.

The Oakland Education Association is confident that in the richest country in the world, in the richest state in the country, we should be able to fully-fund our schools and meet our contract demands without these cuts. OUSD should reach a settlement agreement with our union so that we can get teachers and kids back in the classroom. This is not a time for business as usual. Please join the picket line and do not cross.

Keith Brown

President

Oakland Education Association