Sacramento City Unified Announces that Students will Begin Distance Learning on Sept. 3 as SCTA Declares Impasse
District expressed dismay over stall tactics, failing to meet the needs of our most vulnerable students; Negotiations to move to mediation as students begin school on September 3

Press release

SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento City Unified School District today announced that negotiations with the Sacramento City Teachers Association have ended as the union declared impasse. In lieu of a full agreement, students will begin distance learning on Sept. 3 and 4 with a temporary schedule including primarily asynchronous minutes. On September 1 and 2, SCTA members will receive paid professional development that will allow them to best meet the academic, social, and emotional success for all students.

“While SCTA can continue to frame our differences as ‘Quality vs Quantity’ we have to call into question their definition of quality,” said Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “Our district compromised on the number of instructional minutes that would be provided to our students, but we cannot compromise on the quality of instruction and education for our students. SCTA’s proposal fails to provide adequate time for students to learn from their teacher. We spent the summer asking our community what they wanted from distance learning. The feedback was resounding: more quality instruction, more communication, and more accountability. Our community should be assured that any distance learning plan adopted by the district will contain these critical elements to assure that we are meeting all students’ needs.”

Real Quality for Students 

The following components of the plan protect educational quality for students, and ensure that the district is adhering to state law requirements:

  • Essential standards for every student, which are the building blocks for learning mastery and are part of the Common Core standards
  • Recorded instruction to allow students and families to access lessons 
  • Assessments of student learning and identification of where targeted intervention and support are needed
  • Students with disabilities receive the individualized services as required by their IEP and state and federal law
  • Special Education service logs and documentation to ensure students with disabilities are receiving services required by law
  • Minutes of live instruction vs. independent work. Live instruction is a primary component of the minimum instructional minutes required by SB 98, made up of two types of learning: synchronous (live) and asynchronous (independent work). For every minute taken away from synchronous instruction, students are required to complete independent work up to the total minimum instructional minutes. As an example, SCTA’s plan would require Kindergarteners to complete 90 minutes of independent work, every day, and other grades to complete two (2) hours. Research shows students are more successful when they receive direct instruction from their teacher.
  • Legal requirements/obligations

Compromises by the District 

The district compromised on several areas in response to SCTA counter-proposals. At the request of SCTA, the district agreed to:

  • Implement a schedule with fewer total instructional minutes for the first two days to allow teachers time to adapt to the new learning environment. This is on top of providing two extra paid days of professional learning for teachers ahead of school beginning. 
  • Reduce the number of total instructional minutes for students, specifically:
    • TK-K: Reduced from 252 to 180
    • Grade 1-3: Reduced from 252 to 230
    • Grades 4-6: Reduced from 272 to 240
    • Grades 7-8: Reduced from 278 to 240
    • Grade 9-12: Reduced from 295 to 240

”We can’t accept that distance learning will result in inequitable outcomes for some of our most vulnerable students,” said President Jessie Ryan. “Equity is not optional. We must ensure all students, irrespective of their zip code, receive access to a quality education.  Our students and families have been waiting anxiously for learning to resume and we have a moral imperative to create guard rails for their education during this pandemic.  The Board is extremely disappointed with SCTA’s tactics, which threaten our students’ success.  What I can tell you, with three days left until school starts, is that all of us, from teachers in the classroom, to our principals, custodians, and school board want what’s best for our students.” 

Negotiations Delayed 

The district passed a proposal to SCTA on distance learning on July 16 and failed to receive a response until Aug. 6, 21 days later. Since July 2, the district invited SCTA to meet on 28 dates, in which the union only accepted eight of these dates. After the district gave SCTA a counter proposal on August 13, SCTA waited another 11 days to respond with a proposal that was nearly identical to its first proposal on August 6. These stall tactics pushed negotiations to just days before distance learning was set to begin on Sept. 3. The parties met Aug. 29 and 30, and SCTA indicated it would like to meet a third time on Aug. 31, where it failed to pass a proposal at all and immediately declared an impasse.