State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond returned Tuesday for a second day as a mediator in negotiations between the Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Education Association as the teachers strike enters its fourth day, union officials said.
Thurmond, who took part in a long bargaining session Monday, again tried to broker a settlement between the district and its teachers union, the OEA said in a news release.
The union and hundreds of supporters marched in East Oakland on Tuesday to draw attention to the district's plans to close up to 24 schools in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods.
They are showing supports for Roots International Academy, one of the schools district plans to close. Even though it’s windy and colder than previous days of the strike, supporters are full of energy.
One student, 12-year-old Adam, told NBC Bay Area he could have been sleeping at home today but instead, he’s out here in his poncho rallying with his teachers because "they do so much for us."
Film director Boots Riley and local rapper Bambu DePistola were among those in attedance at Tuesday's rally in front of Roots Academy.
The "Sorry to Bother You" director commended teachers, saying: "You're not just teaching them the fact of what happened, but you're teaching them how to make something happen."
DePistola was joined by his son to entertain the crowd with a rap performance.
The teachers' strike began on Thursday after two years of failed negotiations between the union and the school district and is the first multi-day walkout by Oakland teachers since 1996, when they went on strike for more than two months.
The district previously offered a 5 percent raise over three years, but last week made a new offer of 8.5 percent over four years.
The district on Tuesday said low student attendance during the strike is costing it at least $1 million a day.
"Our data shows that about 6 percent of our students have attended school on average during the strike," district spokesman John Sasaki said.
Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell released a statement Tuesday: "Our numbers show the impact that the student absences are having on the District in support of our teachers. It lends greater urgency to the need to settle our contract negotiations with the Oakland Education Association. Our teams have been working diligently all day to come to a resolution so we can get all our teachers and students back in the classroom and back to the work of teaching and learning."