Anaheim Union High School District teachers declared their one-day strike a success after nearly 80% of the district’s 900 instructors walked out and almost half of the students skipped classes Wednesday, crippling intermediate and secondary schools from Anaheim to Cypress.
The strike, the first ever for members of the Anaheim Secondary Teachers Assn., forced the district to dispatch about 600 substitute teachers to its 21 campuses where 665 regularly assigned teachers failed to appear. Administrators said 46% of the district’s 20,000 students were truant, but students and teachers on the picket lines and at a noon rally reported that attendance dwindled even further as the day went on.
While a district spokesman assured parents that students were being properly supervised, administrators agreed that the strike over stalled salary negotiations had created significant inconveniences to the financially troubled district, which serves most of Anaheim, as well as Cypress and La Palma.
The mood on the teachers’ picket lines was buoyant as teachers reveled in the strike turnout. About 82% of teachers belonging to the association had voted to strike for one day after salary negotiations with district administration reached an impasse.
Teachers are willing to settle for the offer the district has made for this school year, which could mean only a 1% pay raise. The point of contention is next year’s salary. Teachers are demanding a 3.2% increase, equal to the state’s projected inflation rate, plus a portion of the surplus after a 3% reserve is set aside.
District officials, saying shrinking enrollment and rising costs have led to budget deficits, do not want to guarantee any increase.