Banning Unified School District teachers were on the second day of a three-day strike Thursday to protest extended instructional hours that union officials say come without appropriate compensation for educators and were imposed without consulting the teachers’ union.
School district officials have brought in substitute teachers to staff district campuses through the duration of the strike, which is set to last until 7:15 a.m. Monday.
Schools will 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 follows extensive disagreements over compensation and student resources, punctuated by a one-hour extension of instruction time at Nicolet Middle School that teachers say was not negotiated with the district.
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 in approval of striking earlier this week, according to the union.
The teachers’ union contends Guillen “has continuously disregarded Banning teachers” over contract negotiations during the past two years, resulting in educators leaving the district.
“Our professional voice has been continuously ignored by the Banning school board and the climate has turned toxic,” BTA President Anthony Garcia said. “How many times must we lose twenty percent of our teaching force before we hold leaders in (the) Banning school district accountable?”
Guillen accused the union of disrupting student learning at the onset of the 2018-19 school year. The strike began Wednesday, the first day of school.
“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 wrote. “It saddens me to think they will hold student learning hostage to make their point.”
Guillen also said the district is not seeking to increase instructional time at any district elementary or high school campuses.
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