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Striking Oakland teachers make tentative deal to return to class

By
Sommer Brokaw

March 2 (UPI) -- Oakland teachers have reached a tentative agreement with the school district to return to class Monday after striking for a week.

The 118-page agreement gives teachers and support staff an 11 percent raise over four years and a one-time 3 percent bonus this year. Raises are spread out from a 3 percent raise this school year to 2 percent in 2020, 3.5 percent on Jan. 1, 2021, and 2.5 percent on June 30, 2021.

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The district announced Friday the new contract between the school district and the Oakland Education Association, representing teachers and support staff, which is expected to be ratified Saturday.

Tens of thousands have picketed since Feb. 21 demanding a 12 percent raise over three years and more counselors and nurses.

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Though the salary increase is slightly less than what teachers demanded, it's much more than the 5 percent the district initially offered. The union praised the agreement in a statement, saying it also brings reduced class sizes, a five-month pause on school closures and a cap on charter schools.

"I think that it is going to be a joyous experience on Monday when we return to the classroom," teachers' union president Keith Brown said.

School district officials were also optimistic.

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"On Monday, March 4, we look forward to everyone being together again in the classroom and engaged in teaching and learning," Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said in a statement.

The school district estimates the strike has cost the district $1 million a day because only 6 percent of students attended the school last week, affecting the district's per student funding from the state.

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