1. Various of teachers marching with signs through downtown Oakland
2. Teachers rally in front of Oakland City Hall
3. "Keep Teachers in Oakland" sign
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Keith Brown, president, Oakland Education Association (teachers union)
"Our fight, the reason we are on strike, is to make sure that our students are a priority."
5. Pan of teachers rally at City Hall
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Keith Brown, president, Oakland Education Association (teachers union)
"We are on strike for lower class size, to have better educational outcomes for our students. Our teachers in Oakland need a living wage."
7. Teachers, supporters rally at City Hall
8. Supporters holding signs
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Becky Pringle, vice president, National Education Association
"Oakland, you are fighting to the last ditch, to keep open the right to learn."
11. Becky Pringle leading chant
12. Pan of audience with signs
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Elena Njemanze, Oakland kindergarten teacher
"We cannot afford to live here. I personally pay rent, and I can only afford to pay rent because I have my parents helping me. I can't afford to live here on my salary alone."
14. "I can't afford rent" sign
15. John Sazaki, spokesman, Oakland Unified School District:
"So it's disruptive to them, it's disruptive to their families. We know it's disruptive to our teachers. They don't want to be on the picket line. They would much rather be here educating their kids. They care about their kids. They want to be here every single day. So that's where we want them. We want to be able to resolve this as quickly as possible."
16. Teachers leave City Hall rally, march toward downtown
Teachers in Oakland, California, went on strike Thursday, part of a national wave of discontent by educators over classroom conditions, pay and other issues. Recent walkouts have taken place in West Virginia, Los Angeles and Denver.
The city's 3,000 teachers want a 12 percent retroactive raise covering 2017 to 2020 to compensate for what they say are the among the lowest salaries for public school teachers in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area. They also want the district to hire more counselors to support students and more full-time nurses.
Kindergarten teacher Elena Njemanze was among those picketing.
"I can only afford to pay rent because I have my parents helping me," she said. "I can't afford to live here on my salary alone."
The union leader said the educators were forced to strike because administrators did not listen to their demands for two years.
The district initially offered a 5 percent raise covering 2017 to 2020, saying it is squeezed by rising costs and a budget crisis.
In negotiations Wednesday aimed at averting a strike, the district increased its proposal to a 7 percent raise over four years and a one-time 1.5 percent bonus. The offer went higher than the recommendation of an independent fact-finding report that suggested a compromise 6 percent retroactive raise.
But union officials rejected the offer.
Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki said school administrators hope to get a counter proposal from the union when negotiations resume Friday.
Teachers have been working without a contract since 2017 and have said their salaries have not kept up with the cost of living.
A starting salary in the district is $46,500 a year and the average salary is $63,000, according to the union. In neighboring Berkeley, a starting teacher makes $51,000 a year and the average salary is $75,000, the union said.
The walkout affects 36,000 students at 86 schools.
The district said schools would remain open, staffed by non-union employees and substitute teachers. However, parents should not expect teaching as usual, it said.
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