SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The new school year for Sacramento City Unified students is nearly here, but with the district and its teachers association unable to agree on what the rest of the year may look like, many families feel left in limbo.
After the first two days are over, there isn’t a plan in place. Parents like Gwynnae Byrd aren’t surprised.
“We knew this was coming. They had all summer to work this out and all summer – every month – we kept saying oh gee, I wonder how it’s going,” Byrd said.
That wonder still lingers for her and her daughter Cedeira Dawson. Both among many eager to know what distance learning may look like. To her, the lack of collaboration between Sacramento City Unified and the Sacramento City Teachers Association could be compared to a group project gone bad.
“Even if you don’t like someone in your group you still have to work with them, listen to their ideas and see what they have to say,” Dawson said. “That’s not what they’re doing at all.”
Teachers and the district are still battling things like mandatory recording, which the district says many parents have requested.
“We’ve heard loud and clear they have to have an ability to access recordings so they can go back and access the lessons at a time that’s convenient so they don’t fall behind,” Jessie Ryan, board president for SCUSD said.
David Fisher with the Sacramento City Teachers Association said one of the biggest issues is the amount of live instruction.
“If you look at our required minutes, they’re higher than any of the surrounding districts,” Fisher said. “It’s not healthy. They don’t want their child to have that many minutes.”
To compare, San Juan Unified requires 55 minutes of live instruction daily for elementary-aged kids. The Sacramento City Unified proposal asks for 185-190 for classtime in that same age range. Teachers with SCTA are willing to settle at 110-120 minutes at the elementary level.
Though the district says kids need that extra time to learn.
All the back and forth between the two forced some families to make drastic decisions. One mom in the district opted to pull her kids from their schools entirely, calling negotiations “disappointing and unacceptable.”
Byrd can understand why the parent made that choice.
“The thought did cross my mind. But I’m very committed to public schools and the public school system,” she said.
Both Byrd and her daughter hope the two can come to a solution soon, and remember what’s at stake for students.
“I feel like they’re forgetting that this is impacting the kids the most,” Dawson said.
A mediator was requested and approved early Wednesday to help with negotiations. The teachers association said they could get to work on the plan as soon as Thursday, as kids head back to class virtually. But the district hasn’t confirmed when they can begin. The hope from both, though, is to have a solution as soon as possible.