Oakland students to return to class after district, striking teachers reach deal

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Students in the Oakland Unified School District will return to full classroom instruction Tuesday after the district and striking teachers announced a tentative deal that includes a reparations task force for Black students and more say from parents and teachers in school decisions.

Monday's announcement ends a strike that had kept 34,000 students out of school for more than a week. The last day of school for the district east of San Francisco is May 25.

The union representing 3,000 educators, counselors and other workers walked out May 4 in a bid for traditional demands such as higher salaries. But bargainers with the Oakland Education Association also pushed for “common good” changes, such as reparations and resources for students who are homeless.

“Our collective power forced OUSD to commit to living wages for educators, more resources in our schools, enforceable working conditions and common good issues for our students and their families,” the union said in a statement on social media.

Common good clauses that address community issues have become more of a bargaining issue, starting with Chicago in 2012 when teachers went on strike and demanded a voice in improving schools.

In Oakland, the two sides agreed to a shared governance model of community schools with a steering committee that includes members appointed by unions and the district, according to the Oakland Education Association.

The sides also tentatively agreed to identify locations that could be used to house students and to secure housing vouchers and other financial support from governments.

The new reparations task force will identify schools where student populations are at least 40% Black and implement plans to help those students thrive. Co-chairs will be appointed by the Oakland Education Association and the schools' superintendent for the first year.

At a news conference Monday, Oakland schools Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell described the compensation package as historic. Teachers and other union members will receive a 10% raise and a $5,000 one-time stipend for full-time employees, she said.

Students will see more librarians, counselors, nurses, and visual and performing arts teachers, she said.

The tentative agreement will be put to members for ratification.