Another Sonoma County school is staring down a teachers strike. This time - Oak Grove Union just north of Sebastopol.
Educators in the two-school district say they have reached the end of their rope - 93% of Oak Grove Union Elementary Educators Association members have authorized a strike. 84% expressed no confidence in the district superintendent in an internal vote.
Union co-president Cari Cardle and negotiator Lisa Le Donne say a number of abrupt policy changes from administration have left teachers reeling.
Like when the teachers asked for a one time $700 stipend for continued online instruction, said Le Donne.
"At the end of Covid, when we were coming back into the classrooms, we were asked to not only teach our five classes, but to teach the kids at home on afternoon zooms," Le Donne said. "So we asked for a stipend and they said, No, we're not going give you any money to do all these extra things."
Cardle said another struggle has been over curriculum.
"Historically, in this district, the teachers have always had control over what they piloted," Cardle said. "The pilot means that you test it, like you get some curriculum and you try it out with kids. This last science adoption was very, very ugly. The district declared that the only curriculum they could look at had to be T-K - eight. The elementary school chose a different one than the middle school."
Le Donne painted a picture of a district in chaos.
"Trying to limit the voice of the professionals in the room and listening to only five board members, none of which you have teaching credentials," Le Donne said. "To me, it's really going in a way that takes the classroom and, and tries to make it a political place where we're controlled by bureaucrats rather than collaboration with the professionals that we are."
Cardle and Le Donne also find issue with Oak Grove educator’s below state average wages, despite Sonoma County’s high cost of living; and the superintendent’s $206,000 per year salary in 2022 - well above the statewide average for similar districts.