In Fresno, CA, we stand united in our belief that students deserve a better education—but our school system isn’t serving students, educators, or taxpayers.
Fresno Unified School District wants to waste hundreds of millions of dollars on unnecessary consultants and pointless programs instead of listening to the experienced educators striving to make a difference. There is a better way to build the school environment we’ve all been imagining, and the Fresno Teachers Association is leading the way.
Educators have spoken, and we are ready to strike on November 1. Support better schools by supporting the strike against Fresno Unified.
Meet Tamara Smith
Special Education Teacher at Fort Miller Middle School
While leadership at Fresno Unified continues into unknown, unproven territory, educators have created a blueprint based on years of exploration and experience. We already possess the tools, knowledge, and perspective needed to bring lasting change to our district, but we’ll never get to where we want to be if we don’t alter our course.
The District and FTA are working together to improve our schools.
Negotiations have stalled, and teachers need to strike.
for Better Schools
The Fresno Teachers Association and Fresno Unified began bargaining in the summer of 2022. Labor negotiations can be challenging, but we have remained committed to working with District leadership to agree upon a viable plan. Throughout the last year, FUSD failed to come prepared and failed to engage in meaningful discussions about the important issues. Fact-finding didn’t produce an acceptable agreement for our association, and we have decided we are willing to strike beginning on November 1.
Facts About District Negotiations
- Fresno Unified has refused to reduce class sizes.
- They are also unwilling to discuss a reduction of special education (SPED) workloads, or anything else from our proposals.
- Leaders refuse to increase educators' salaries according to inflation.
- Fresno Unified has a record level of ongoing reserves—however, they want us to cut our health fund in order to pay our own salaries (which means they are robbing Peter to pay Peter).
Explore some of our frequently asked questions to learn more about the process of labor negotiations, how we got to where we are today, and what we intend to do next.
Fresno Unified wants to do what is best for schools in our district.
Their proposed plans don’t directly benefit classrooms, educators, or students.
Time for a
The Superintendent and other leaders at Fresno Unified have long relied on ineffective methods with little foresight to maintain a crumbling and insufficient status quo. Their current path lacks direction, leaving us far from our desired destination without a plan to bring us back. Through multiple mandated programs and initiatives, decision makers obstruct the progress of our district, waste taxpayer money, and hinder our students’ success.
Facts About District Strategies
- Fresno Unified has been making plans and implementing changes without any checks or balances.
- There is a distinct lack of educator input, proof of concept, benchmarks for success, or transparent evaluation during the planning process.
- Resulting mandatory initiatives from the District are disjointed, unsubstantiated, and inconsistent.
- The District consistently delays and distracts those who ask questions or raise issues.
Meet Sara Ingels
Speech Language Pathologist at Ericson Elementary
Our students deserve more than makeshift measures and temporary solutions. Their futures depend on the journey we are on today, and it's time to follow the leaders who know the way.
Fresno Unified can’t implement educator-driven solutions due to limited budget.
Our plan focuses on tangible, student-centered changes while adhering to the budget.
It Comes Down
to the Dollars
Fresno Unified has not given us a clear answer as to why they are unwilling to consider our plan. What we can infer from our negotiations is that any adjustment to our contracts in favor of students and educators would take money away from the Superintendent and other leaders in our District. We are deeply concerned that they would prioritize their own programs and initiatives over tactics that will improve the education experience for students and educators.
Facts About District Finances
- Fresno Unified has more money now than they've ever had.
- Over a four-year period starting in 22-23, they want to pay educators less than inflation.
- In order to get a salary closer to the adjustment for inflation, they want all employees to take a $88M – $101M healthcare fund cut in the first three years alone.
- When they have chosen to respond at all, Fresno Unified has claimed that our demands are unfeasible due to the financial realities of our District.
If teachers strike, students will suffer, and it’s unfair to put them through this.
Students will suffer far more from a long-term lack of change than a temporary strike.
Supporting Teachers Supports Students
We are proposing a long-term strategy for making real classroom improvements—an investment in all of our futures. Students will have a few difficult days if we strike, but their entire educational future will suffer more if we don’t take a stand to improve our classrooms. What if class sizes never reduce? What if more and more educators leave our District? What if we don’t have enough nurses or social/emotional support? If we are not willing to strike, then we must be willing to accept what the District might impose. The current situation will only get worse if we choose not to act.
Impact on Students + Educators
- Educators feel overworked and undervalued, and their empathy is being exploited.
- Students do not get the support they need when they need it, and they are not elevated to their full potential.
- Teachers are forced to choose between helping students at their own expense or standing by while students suffer.
- Students are not receiving the educational opportunities they deserve in Fresno, CA.
- The number of teacher vacancies continues to increase. This year, there were 672 vacancies that needed to be filled, with 70 positions infilled as of the end of August.
Act Now to Support Better Schools
By showing up and standing up for an educator-led, student-centered approach, we can collectively shape the future of our public school system. Together, we will leverage the expertise of our educators while empowering every student to thrive. Together, we can guide our community towards a brighter future.
Here’s how you can help to ensure that the dreams of our community become a reality.
- Recruitment & Retention of Quality Educators
- Smaller Class Sizes
- Improved Special Education Services
- No Cuts to Educators' Health Fund
- Safety Improvements
Fresno Students Should Be
Our District's Top Priority
Download Our Informational Flyer
Resources for Parents & Families
The teachers’ union, FTA, has been negotiating with the district since last November. We want smaller class sizes so every Fresno student gets the attention they need; improved special education services; safety improvements; more English Learner supports; and the resources to attract and retain quality educators. We believe we can reimagine education in Fresno, transform our school district, and create a brighter future for all students. The superintendent doesn’t share our vision and has chosen to ignore the voices of FUSD educators, forcing us to do whatever is necessary to fight for Fresno kids, including going on strike.
The strike is scheduled to begin on November 1. There is still time for FUSD to do the right thing and avert a strike. We encourage you to contact your school board members and tell them to put students first.
If FTA has to go on strike to win the resources our students and educators deserve, the length of a strike will depend on educators, parents, and the community supporting FTA’s demands! The more that teachers and the community work together to show the FUSD superintendent and school board that their proposals are unacceptable and our students deserve better, the quicker we will be able to end the strike and get back to our classrooms.
During a strike, replacement “substitutes” may be at your child’s school. The school district collects money for student attendance, even if they’re just showing movies all day in the cafeteria or auditorium. As a parent or guardian, you’ll have to decide if you want your child in this environment. A strike is most powerful when students do not attend school because this puts financial pressure on the district to negotiate with teachers or lose more money from the state.
No. Missing school during a strike will not affect students’ grades, graduation, attendance record, or college acceptance.
This depends on your school site. Talk to the after-school program director to learn about their plan for a potential strike.
Talk to your child’s teacher. Some may send homework books, create packets, or share digital resources that your student can use during a potential strike.
- Join us on the picket line, and bring your kids! Talk to teachers at your school site about this.
- Talk to other families at your school site to share childcare responsibilities for the duration of the strike.
- Hold a parent meeting at your school site, an info session at your organization, or a house meeting for your neighbors.
- Contact the FUSD Superintendent and your elected school board member and tell them to prioritize students and educators by settling with FTA now. Call (559) 457-3882 and tell them to end the strike NOW.
Talk to your child’s teachers. If they don’t know the answers to your questions, they can refer you to a teacher leader on campus.
Resources for Teachers
We are currently at an impasse because the District and FTA are unable to agree on the terms of our labor contract. Once an impasse is declared, both parties participate in mediation and a fact-finding process. As outlined in the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA), the parties (Union and District) can conduct negotiations during any point of an impasse to try to reach a settlement. FTA leadership has informed FUSD that we are willing to meet to have meaningful discussions.
Each party appoints a panelist and mutually agree on a neutral panelist. At the end of the hearing, the neutral panelist writes a non-binding report. We anticipate receiving this recommendation report as soon as 30 days after conclusion of the hearing.
The simple answer is no. The neutral panelist does not act as a judge or forensic accountant. Instead, their role is more focused on facilitating dialogue to foster communication and writing a non-binding report with the aim of reaching a mutually agreeable solution. The neutral panelist has discretion to not write about specific proposals.
FTA educators drafted and submitted a comprehensive set of proposals that will start the process of transforming public education. We respect the fact-finding process, but we are not willing to blindly adopt a report we have not reviewed, and that may not address the important issues in our district.
Members authorized a strike by a vote of the Association membership on October 23, 2023, and the FTA Executive Board is calling for an official walkout. We can legally strike after we consider fact-finder’s report, make a determination that the report does not change our circumstances, and give notice to the District. We are currently planning to begin our strike on November 1, 2023.
The length of a strike is determined by the school board’s willingness to support students and educators and negotiate a settlement that improves learning conditions for Fresno Unified students. If all FTA members stand united, along with parent/community support, we will generate maximum pressure on the School Board and Superintendent to do right by students and teachers, resulting in a shorter strike.
It is unlawful to engage in an economic strike until the fact-finding process is complete. Further, we are still hopeful that we can reach an agreement. Additionally, our members did not authorize a strike until October 23, 2023.
YES! An active, large picket line at every school and work site is vital to a strike’s success. The more members we have out on the picket line, the harder it is for people to cross it. Your Picket Captain will verify your attendance every day. We also need every member out at their school site/worksite to talk with parents and the community to let them know what’s going on with our negotiations, what they can do to support us and put pressure on the district decision makers to settle with our bargaining team.
YES! The California Supreme Court and the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) have both upheld the legality of strikes at the conclusion of the impasse procedures (i.e., after the non-binding fact-finding report is released) or in response to an Unfair Labor Practice. Educators (including Interns, Probationary, and Temporary) cannot be fired or disciplined for engaging in a lawful strike.
We have had many parent meetings, where students are also welcome, and more are scheduled. If you are interested in attending those meetings, please sign up for email updates. Your voice is important, and your participation is invaluable.
We can’t tell parents to keep their student home. You’ll have to use your best judgment in deciding what type of environment they will be placed in during a strike. We do know that the picket line will be a family friendly place for all community members, including our young community members.