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State Supt. Tony Thurmond returns as Oakland teachers union, district continue talks

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will return 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, will again try to broker a settlement between the district and its teachers union, the OEA said in a news release.

The union said it will stage a mid-day march 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.

The solidarity rally and march to support Oakland’s Roots International Academy, which is slated for closure, is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. at Verdese Park, 9600 Sunnyside St., followed by a two-mile, one-way march to Roots school, 1390 66th Ave., Oakland. A rally with speakers is planned at Roots.

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.

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