Banning Unified School District teachers Wednesday began a three-day strike — on the first day of school following summer break — in protest of extended instructional hours.
School district officials brought in substitute teachers to oversee classes at district campuses through the duration of the strike, which is set to last until 7:15 a.m. Monday.
Schools remain open and any students kept out of class will be marked absent, according to a statement from Banning Unified Superintendent Robert Guillen.
The strike involves disagreements over compensation and student resources, punctuated by a one-hour extension of instruction time at Nicolet Middle School that, according to the teachers’ union, came without appropriate compensation for educators, nor any consultation with the union.
District officials said instructional time was increased because Nicolet students were receiving an hour less instruction time than Banning High School students.
More than 70 percent of Banning Teachers Association members voted earlier this week in favor of a strike, according to the union.
Guillen accused the union of disrupting student learning at the onset of the 2018-19 school year.
“To be clear, this is a conflict that the district and union have been discussing since June of last year, so for the union to wait until the last minute before school begins to declare a strike indicates that they are not interested in finding productive ways to settle disagreements,” Guillen said. “It saddens me to think they will hold student learning hostage to make their point.”
Guillen also said that the district is not seeking to increase instructional time at any district elementary or high school campuses.