VIDEOS: With S.F. Schools Now Open, Teachers Move Closer to Possible Strike

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Public school students in San Francisco are tackling a new academic year with some uncertainty about how long their teachers will be in the classroom.

The first day of classes Monday comes as the teachers appear determined to walk off the job if a new contract with the San Francisco Unified School District is not reached.

“This is not something we want to do and this is not something we’re excited about having to do,” Dennis Kelly with the United Educators of San Francisco said during a Monday morning news conference. “It is something we need to do.”

Kelly says 2,251 teachers and support staff voted Thursday in a secret ballot to authorize a second vote that could lead to a strike. He says all but 16 voted yes, meaning the measure passed with 99.29% of the vote.

“What that tells you is the teachers, the paraprofessionals and other school employees in San Francisco are saying we’ve had enough,” Kelly adds. “We gave up $60 million over four years. It’s time for us to be recognized and it’s time for us to be paid back.”

San Francisco school officials say the vote comes as little surprise.

“I think our teachers have given so much to help keep the school district afloat,” San Francisco School Superintendent Richard Carranza says. “All of our employees have given so much. So I completely understand why there’s this pent up urge for increase in salaries. The good news is we want to give a raise.”

The district is offering an eight percent pay hike over three years. The union is asking for 21%.

Kelly says a vote to authorize a strike is unlikely until late September or early October. For now teachers remain in the classrooms with schools open for the first time this academic year on Monday.

Raw Video of Monday Morning United Educators of S.F. News Conference.
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Raw Video of remarks by S.F. School Superintendent and S.F. Mayor on Possible Strike
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