Oceanside parents, students, and teachers packed the Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) board meeting Tuesday night in an escalating battle to improve conditions that will attract the next generation of educators to the community.
After 500 days and no contract, Oceanside Teachers Association (OTA) members have taken to the streets in recent weeks and to regular Tuesday school board meetings. With both signs and statements, they remind OUSD officials they are “mission critical” to each student’s success. Quality education depends on having well-qualified teachers in each classroom, and OTA has committed to achieving compensation that will help recruit and retain the next generation of Oceanside educators.
In a supporting sea of red shirts, over 35 speakers signed up for public comment. Lines of parents, students, and teachers took to the microphone to share concerns about their school board’s commitment to education. Constituents have been left with the impression that OUSD does not value the amazing work of the teachers.
One by one, increasingly boisterous parents and students stepped to the microphone to tell the story of the exceptional work of Oceanside teachers and sharing their displeasure with OUSD board members;
“I adore teachers” “I Moved my family to Oceanside to get a high-quality education” “Teachers are something special here” “It is frustrating to hear about how teachers are being treated in our district” “Our teacher takes the time to talk to our family and spend their lunches with our kids” “They go out of the way for our kids and you the school board are standing in the way” “I’m disappointed in the school board and the superintendent”.
Recommendations from OUSD budget committee that both presidents of OTA and CSEA participated in have been ignored. And despite a long history of inaccurate budget projections, OUSD officials are again crying poor.
OTA President Jennifer Skellett questioned board about the misaligned priorities and misguided expenditures that led to the hiring of outside consultants with no evidence of improved student achievement.
OTA has already shown a willingness to compromise at the bargaining table. An end to the dispute will take movement on the part of OUSD, which has shown little desire to date to negotiate in good faith to bring about an effective end to this negotiations stalemate.