Local 856 member advocates for public school funding

From left to right: WCCUSD Superintendent Matt Duffy, WCCUSD Board Member Consuelo Lara, Tracey Kitaoka, Clare Crawford from In The Public Interest, WCCUSD Board President Tom Panas, and WCCSD Communications Director Marcus Walton at the press conference


Tracey Kitaoka is a graduate tutor at West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD). Yesterday, she spoke at a WCCUSD press conference alongside a district teacher, parent, and members of the school board to demonstrate the impact charter schools have had on funding for educational programming for district students.

In February, the WCCUSD Board passed a resolution that called for a moratorium on charter schools. Yesterday, the district unveiled a report done by In The Public Interest (ITPI) that outlines the financial impact charter schools have on WCCUSD. “When students leave district schools for charters schools, the funding leaves with them but not the costs,” said Clare Crawford from ITPI.

The report found that charter schools remove $27.9 million from WCCUSD each year.

Despite providing invaluable small group intervention services to students who are falling behind or have fallen behind their grade level, WCCUSD graduate tutors still felt the impact of what funding shortages directly when the school board voted to cut their jobs last December in order to balance their budget. These Teamsters 856 members did not just sit back and take it, they fought back until the school board approved an agreement this month that will save the majority of graduate tutor jobs.

“We worked hard with the Board to save most of the graduate tutor jobs so that as many students as possible would be able to retain access to the quality education services provided by the graduate tutor program,” explained Tracey during her remarks are yesterday’s press conference. “And while I’m proud we were able to save so many jobs, I still worry about what will happen to the students who will be impacted by the loss of their graduate tutor.”