Saturday, March 30, 2019

Cesar Chavez Taught Us How

antiracismdsa: Cesar Chavez Taught Us How:   Duane Campbell and Cesar Chavez, 1972. Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and Strategic Racism.  On March 31, 2019,  Eleven states will hold...

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Teachers Should not have to beg for decent pay

John Affeldt, Public Advocates
Teachers in Sacramento, west Fresno County and Dublin may soon go on strike over the same bread and butter issues that were fought over in Oakland: low teacher pay, large class sizes, and few counselors and nurses.
If you didn’t know better, you might mistake California for a declining Rust Belt state. But it’s not. California is über-rich. The shameful truth behind all this discord is that California is fabulously wealthy; yet for decades, it has starved its public schools and 6 million children of the resources necessary to succeed.
With a GDP of $2.7 trillion, California is the world’s 5th largest economy—surpassed only by behemoths like China, Japan, Germany and the United States itself. Tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Netflix, and Google are synonymous with California. So are Fortune 500 companies like Chevron, Wells Fargo, Disney, Gap and Visa. Home to Hollywood, Napa Valley, Palm Springs, Disneyland and Lake Tahoe, tourists pump almost $132 billion into the economy every year. It’s the largest manufacturing state in the country, and this year, the Golden State will be home to thousands of new millionaires as tech companies rush to go public.
Yet, as Gov. Gavin Newsom has noted, California ranks 41st in per pupil spending nationwide. As a consequence, in our high-cost state, we have fewer adults—teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians, administrators—per student than all but two states and struggle to pay a living wage to those who serve.
In a state with such vast wealth, we actually can afford to meet the school funding shortfall—which one recent study concluded to be some $25 billion annually. Without that investment, we are doomed to repeat the same battles over paying teachers a fair wage vs. providing basic resources vs. supporting high-need students—battles that end with short-term unsustainable bargains and underperforming students.
We’re already seeing cash-strapped districts tap into money set aside for English learners, foster youth and low-income students to pay for across-the-board raises and class-size reductions. In the case of the Los Angeles district, financial reserves are covering the immediate $330 million cost of its recent settlement, but it appears the bulk of the money promised in the deal was originally intended for high-need students. In Oakland, successful foster youth case managers and restorative justice programs are being cut to scrape together funds to settle its contract.
The good news is that for the first time since the massive cuts to education in the 1970s, we have a governor calling for a conversation on funding adequacy. In fact, several revenue ideas are floating around Sacramento that deserve consideration—from joining the majority of states that tax services in addition to income, to closing gas tax and inheritance loopholes, to enhancing options for local school boards or counties to raise school revenue, to name just a few.
More immediately, the governor and the Legislature can take action to relieve school districts of the disproportionate pension burden foisted upon them in 2014 beyond the $3 billion temporary fix that Newsom has already proposed.
Newsom could also come out in strong support of the 2020 ballot proposition to amend Proposition 13 by requiring the regular reassessment of commercial property at fair market value while leaving in place protections for homes. That move alone would raise nearly $5 billion annually for education.
But more than words and promises of conversations, we need bold action now to equitably share California’s vast wealth. Our teachers and students shouldn’t have to beg.
John Affeldt is a managing attorney at Public Advocates in San Francisco, where he focuses on educational equity issues through litigation, policy advocacy and partnerships with grassroots organizations.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Community Coalition on SCUSD Budget Crisis

 Community Priority Coalition 

 March 6, 2019 

Superintendent Jorge Aguilar 

Re: SCUSD financial crisis 

Dear SCUSD Board Members: 
The Community Priority Coalition (CPC) is very concerned about the Sacramento City Unified School District's financial health and deficit spending that will negatively impact students in the District. The Community Priority Coalition members consist of Black Parallel School Board, Building Healthy Communities. Hmong Innovating Politics, La Familia Counseling Center. Making Cents Work, League of United Latin American Citizens (Lorenzo Patiño Council #2862), Sacramento Area Congregations Together, Democracy and Education Institute, and Public Advocates Inc. 

Since 2016, the Community Priority Coalition has submitted to the Sacramento City Unified District Board an alternative budget that reflect the following Coalition priorities: 1) Class Size Reduction (24 to 1); 2) Professional development in cultural proficiency and restorative justice; 3) Additional instructional assistance for English Language Learner and increased efforts to involve their parents in their education programs. including bilingual counselors, teachers, social workers and other staff; and 4) After-school/early intervention programs. Although, CPC clearly understands that the District will make very difficult decisions; we are most alarmed that you are unable to address the key concerns of the Coalition given the District history and current financial crisis. 
On December 12, 2018, the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), released the Sacramento City Unified School District's Fiscal Health Risk Analysis report. The purpose of the report is to evaluate SCUSD fiscal health and risk of insolvency in the current and next two fiscal years. The report indicted the District’s financial health by stating “that the district will be cash insolvent in November 2019 (estimated to be October 2019 at the time of FCMAT’s fieldwork) unless significant action is taken.” 
Historically, the District’s mis-management in the accounting department, poor budget development process, poor board decisions, and failure to address the structural deficit have placed the quality of education for the SCUSDs' students in jeopardy. Moreover, the current financial crisis will undermine the Local Control Accountability Plan process and shut out key stakeholders in the process. 
We understand that the District doesn’t want receivership nor do the Coalition, but the historical practices of the District gives us much pause. Therefore, we are urging the district not to use the 
District's budget shortfalls in a way that will balance the budget on the backs of students, teachers and staff. 
The Community Priority Coalition sincerely wants to work collaboratively with the Superintendent and SCUSD Board for the betterment of our children. 
Community Priority Coalition

Community Priority Coalition 
4625 44th Street, Rm 5 Sacramento, CA 95820 

Jessie Ryan, President 
Darrel Woo, First Vice President 
Michael Minnick, Second Vice President 
Christina Pritchett 
Lisa Murawski 
Mai Vang 
Leticia Garcia 
Rachel Halbo 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Sac City Unified Budget Crisis

Failing math

Sac schools flirting with disaster


This article was published on . Sacramento News and Review.

Members of the Sacramento City Teachers Association announce March 15 that they have the votes to strike if the district doesn’t agree to their demands over a 2017 labor agreement.
In November 2017, Sacramento City Unified School District and the unionrepresenting its teachers reached an eleventh-hour agreement to avert a strike.
Among the Sacramento City Teachers Association’s demands were salary increases, reduced class sizes and additional nurses and school psychologists. At the time, the district was in the black and the parties fleshed out an agreement with the help of Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
Less than two years later, the district is in the red and trying to avoid both a state takeover and its first teacher strike since 1989.
At a March 15 press conference, SCTA President David Fisher cited the district’s “unlawful, unfair labor practices” as the reason that 92 percent of the union’s members authorized a strike. Fisher said SCTA, which represents about 2,500 teachers, librarians, psychologists and others, has requested a sit-down with Superintendent Jorge Aguilar at the end of March to work on a solution and avoid a strike.
“We don’t want to go to a strike,” Fisher said. “However, that is our lawful way of getting the district to live up to its commitments.”
At the same time, the district is on the brink of a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall.
Last August, the Sacramento County Office of Education rejected the district’s adopted budget for 2018-19, citing a projected $62.1 million deficit over the next two school years. Subsequent revised budgets were also rejected.
A December 2018 report from the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team, or FCMAT, projected the district would be insolvent by 2019. The team, which helps California school districts identify, prevent and resolve financial issues, called for $30 million in reductions, imploring the district to focus on cuts that could be made immediately.
“Without action, state intervention is certain,” the FCMAT report summarized. “Failure to act quickly and decisively will result in imminent fiscal insolvency and loss of local control.”
The district has until June 30 to figure out how to cut $35 million over the next two years, or risk running out of money by November. If that happens, the district will have to take out an emergency loan from the state, which would shift decision-making power from the elected local board to a state-appointed administrator.
Four of the five labor unions representing SCUSD employees have agreed to work together on a plan to make the necessary cuts in the next two years to avoid state receivership.
As the district works to identify cuts before the summer deadline, the school district may also be the latest in California to see its teachers walk out. In January, a high-profile teachers strike got the Los Angeles Unified School District to commit to limits on class sizes and nurses. In February, a strike led Oakland Unified School District to agree to a halt on school closures and an 11 percent pay increase.
At the heart of the tension between teachers and administrators are conflicting interpretations of the deal they reached in 2017.
The district and SCTA agreed they were losing mid-career teachers who could earn more at nearby districts. In the framework agreement made at Steinberg’s home, teachers received three flat raises of 2.5 percent, two implemented retroactively and the third on July 1, 2018.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

California Schools Lack Counselors

National Average:  477 students per 1 counselor.

California Average  945 students per 1 counselor.

California has made important strides in class size reduction, higher academic standards, greater accountability, and improved teacher preparation. The important missing link in these initiatives to improve student learning is the need for more school counselors and other student support services, such as school psychologists, school social workers, and school nurses. Traditionally, California students' access to counselors varies by grade level, and 29 percent of California school districts have no counseling programs at all. When counseling programs exist, counselors are often asked to add administrative duties such as testing, supervising, and class scheduling. The ratio of students per counselor in this state averages 945 to 1, compared to the national average of 477 to 1, ranking California last in the nation.

In another sign of the changing of the guard in the leadership of education policy in California, former Stanford professor and leading researcher Linda Darling-Hammond was selected to be president of California’s State Board of Education by fellow board members on Thursday, a month after Gov. Gavin Newsom named her to the post.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Sacramento Community Groups Oppose ICE

antiracismdsa: Sacramento Community Groups Oppose ICE: (SACRAMENTO, CA,  3/18/19 ) – Sacramento and Yolo county community-based organizations involved with immigration advocacy came together  ...
(SACRAMENTO, CA, –Sacramento and Yolo county community-based organizations involved with immigration advocacy met on  Monday, March 18, to announce the release of two publications that will assist undocumented residents and their allies if they encounter ICE agents on the street, at home, at work or while incarcerated.

One publication contains information in the form of narrative stories, while the other illustrates the same points graphically in a comic book style.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

When ICE Comes Knocking

Press Conference for Release of “If ICE Comes Knocking” Publications
(SACRAMENTO, CA, 3/15/19) –Sacramento and Yolo county community-based organizations involved with immigration advocacy will come together Monday, March 18, to announce the release of two publications that will assist undocumented residents and their allies if they encounter ICE agents on the street, at home, at work or while incarcerated.

One publication contains information in the form of narrative stories, while the other illustrates the same points graphically in a comic book style.

WHAT: Press conference co-hosted by CAIR Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV) and Sacramento Area Congregations Together (Sac ACT) to announce the release of “If ICE Comes Knocking” publications. Member organizations of the Sacramento Immigration Coalition will be speaking.
WHEN: 11 a.m. Monday, March 18, 2019 
WHERE: CAIR-SV’s office, 1122 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815
MORE INFO: Joe Engle, MNA, marketing & publications consultant with N&R Publications,

Free copies of the narrative “What to do if ICE Comes Knocking” publication and the comic book version of “When ICE Comes Knocking” by the Independent Journalism Fund will be given out to organizations who are working with the immigrant community until supplies run out.

Venue for and refreshments at the event will be provided by the Independent Journalism Fund. Recognition and speaking time will be made available to The California Endowment as a primary sponsor. Other sponsors include League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and Communities for a New California.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Sacramento Teachers Authorize a Strike- If necessary

The Sacramento City Teachers Association said Friday its members have authorized a potential strike to protest what it calls unfair labor practices by the Sacramento City Unified School District.
No date was set for the possible teacher walkout, which comes as the district is facing a $35 million budget shortfall and after high-profile teacher strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland.
Representatives for the union and district said on Friday they hope to work through differences to avoid a strike.
“First of all, we hope not to go on strike. However, the membership voted to authorize it if necessary,” David Fisher, president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association, said Friday.
Fisher said 92 percent of the union’s teachers voted to approve the strike.
This is not a strike,  This authorizes a strike if the Executive Board deems it necessary to resolve outstanding issues.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

SCUSD Budget Fiasco- 2

10 Facts about the Budget Fiasco at Sac City

10 Facts about the Budget Fiasco at Sac City: At its most basic, the Sacramento City Unified District has a budget crisis because Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and the School Board are not honoring commitments to students, educators and even the Sacramento County Office of Education.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Dolores Huerta Opening Day - Sacramento

antiracismdsa: Dolores Huerta Opening Day - Sacramento: Dolores Huerta will be speaking at the California Museum tomorrow morning at the grand opening of the Smithsonian Dolores Huerta tra...

Thursday, March 07, 2019

SCUSD Plans for Teacher Lay Offs

Sac City Unified Board decided to give 163 Lay Off notices to current teachers for the coming year in a vote on March 7, 2019.  In 2018/2019 the district received more money from Local Control Funding ( LCFF). Than in prior years, however they have a new deficit.  The board members argue that savings that could be made by changing the funding of health benefits.  This claim is related to a dispute over the existing contract between the district and the Teaches Union.   The Board voted unanimously  to issue the lay off notices. 

The district is at

The teachers union is currently conducting a vote by its members  for permission to  prepare for a strike. 
The budget challenges  faced by the district have placed the district  under the threat of state takeover as it wrestles with a $35 million budget gap. The district has yet to respond with a budget revision that would resolve the funding gap. 
It appears from the hearing that the district does not have a plan to resolve the budget shortfall.  Instead, they continue a public relations attempt to force the teachers union to accept a unilateral revision of the already signed contract. 
Board of Education Members 
Jessie Ryan, President, (Trustee Area 7)
Darrel Woo, Vice President, (Trustee Area 6) Michael Minnick, 2
nd Vice President, (Trustee Area 4) Lisa Murawski, (Trustee Area 1)
Leticia Garcia, (Trustee Area 2)
Christina Pritchett, (Trustee Area 3)
Mai Vang, (Trustee Area 5)
Rachel Halbo, Student Member 

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Oakland Teachers Return to work

• Thousands of students and teachers returned to school in Oakland on Monday after a deal to give teachers a raise and improve some school conditions ended a seven-day strike. But protests continued yesterday as district officials cut $21.75 million from the budget for things like administrative jobs and restorative justice programs. [The East Bay Times]

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Tentative Agreement in Oakland Teachers Strike


After seven days on strike — with 95% of our members on the line, 97% of students out of school, and tens of thousands on our picket lines and rallies — we have reached a Tentative Agreement! 

This is a historic contract with a win in every major proposal we made. We are now leaps and bounds closer... 

Friday, March 01, 2019


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