Mayor Steinberg Credited With Helping Avoid Teacher Strike

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The first strike in a Sacramento school district in nearly three decades was averted after teachers and the school district officials came to an agreement.

The agreement was reached Sunday and announced on Monday, which avoided a potential strike slated for Wednesday.

The Sacramento City Teachers Association called for a strike after 13 months of negotiations with the Sacramento City Unified School District.

“Sometimes when you’re fighting for somebody, you have to step away for a little bit to get what’s best for them,” said Shana Just, referring to her students.

Just, along with other teachers, rallied in front of the district office on Thursday. She was ready to walk out of her classroom and join a picket line this week, but she says something changed her mind.

“The key was Mayor Steinberg and the new superintendent getting involved,” she said.

Steinberg stepped in and is credited with bringing unity to two very divided groups. But he was quick to downplay his role.

“I thought I could be of some help, so I offered myself, and I wouldn’t say I did a lot, I just helped both parties talk to one another. That’s what a good mediator does,” said Mayor Steinberg.

The mayor says he spent the weekend with teachers and district officials until they came to a resolution.

The plan includes an 11 percent increase over the next three years for teachers and plans to reduce class size and expand student services. There is also a promise to recruit and retain enough educators to make Sac City Unified a destination district.

“It’s great, I think it’s the best thing for the children and for everybody,” said Bea Kandra.

A no-strike resolution is welcomed news for Kandra, who has a child in the district. She was worried what the strike would have meant for her family.

“I don’t think it would have been a meaningful experience, probably babysitting for working parents,” she said.

Tensions have now faded, and all sides are claiming a win.

“Parents and students can breathe a sigh of relief, school is happening Wednesday, no strikes,” Steinberg said.

The salary increase will cost the district about $22 million.

A district spokesperson says school leaders plan for salary increases each time contract negotiations come up, and this amount was already earmarked in the existing budget.

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