Teachers Picket AUSD

Dennis Evanosky

Teacher-of-the-year nominee Anne Turpin and teacher Chris Carman stand on the picket line outside Alameda High School on Tuesday. They joined Alameda teachers who picketed schools across the Island City to protest failed contract negotiations with the school district.

When Alameda teachers voted down their contract by more than a two-to-one margin earlier this month, Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) superintendant Kirsten Vital wrote a letter to the community. In that letter she stated that the "teachers might have an opportunity to reconsider and vote again on the tentative agreement after their spring break."

Instead of reconsidering, however, the teachers took to the picket lines Tuesday.

"Alameda's teachers are ready to stand up to the bullying behavior perpetrated by the AUSD administration," said Gray Harris, president of Alameda Education Association (AEA), the union that represents the teachers. Harris said that the teachers she represents "feel disrespected and are concerned about the 38 contract violations since Superintendent (Kirsten) Vital arrived compared with only six in the three years prior to Vital's reign."

"Many questions have come from concerned community members and the teachers want to provide an explanation," AEA stated in a press release about what it called "informational picketing." "Negotiations will continue, but no dates have been set," AEA stated.

Vital was not available for comment.

The picketing took place between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Tuesday morning in front of all Alameda schools.

Several issues led AUSD teach-ers to reject the proposal. They include salary, class size and the loss of instructional class time.


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