A teacher’s strike is looming at Fresno Unified School District.
“After 15 months, we find ourselves where we are now. It’s frustrating,” said Superintendent Bob Nelson.
On Friday, the district and teacher’s union once again could not reach an agreement. But, Superintendent Nelson feels more optimistic this time.
“I want to be clear, it was not from a lack of trying from both sides,” said Superintendent Nelson. “The informal discussion was both encouraging and hopeful.”
Superintendent Nelson said the district offered a pay increase of more than 14% since 2013, a 90/10 health plan which would reduce out of pocket expenses, and a class size reduction district wide.
“The problem with today’s session, it was 6 hours long, but we only spent 10 minutes in the room with [the district], and they said very few words,” said Jon Bath, a member of the teacher’s union bargaining team.
Bath said the district has not been forthcoming.
“There is a level of mistrust, there is a level of us asking for information over and over, and Fresno Unified not sharing financial information, not sharing class size information at the last minute. There’s a lot of mistrust, said Bath.
The district said its latest offer outlines $94 million in investments for employees, student support and programs. That number is up by 34 million since negotiations began last year, according to Superintendent Nelson.
But Bath said it’s not all about the money.
“Such as teacher’s autonomy, such as teachers having a better say in classroom management, discipline, safety, improving schools by working with parents in the community to make them safer,” said Bath.
Both sides will have another fact finding session in the near future with hopes of reaching an agreement so teachers can avoid a strike.