We are receiving lots of questions about the upcoming one-day strike and President Gordon is trying will try to provide answers below. Please understand that not all of these questions have concrete answers and some questions are unanswerable at this time. Here are some of the most common questions and their answers:
Are we going to strike?
Educators are participating in a one-day strike on Thursday, November 14.
Why are you doing this?
We are doing this for our students. Our students deserve one locally and democratically elected school board—comprised of people from the community who understand their specific needs. We are also doing this to stand against the governor’s plan to resegregate our public schools. Separate but unequal won’t guarantee that all students receive the educational opportunities they deserve. We are the guardians of public education for our children. We are the last line of defense for our students. If not us, who? If not now, when?
What is a one-day strike going to accomplish?
A one-day strike is going to demonstrate that parents, educators, and the entire community of LR are willing to stand against the destruction of our public schools. We are hopeful that it will create room to find a solution.
During a strike, where will we go? What will it look like? Will we picket in front of our schools? At one place? What will the hours for picketing be?
Any and all directions will be sent through picket captains directly to members. The directions will be sent 24 hours in advance.
How many employees have to vote to strike?
A majority of the members present at the meeting where the strike vote is called, which happened last month.
Can teachers paid with federal money or SPED teachers strike?
Yes. The days will have to be made up so the students will receive services.
Can Pre-K Teachers participate in a strike?
Yes, Pre-K teachers can participate in a strike.
How many days do we have to provide
For a planned absence, you must provide 5 days of sub plans. You must keep 1 day of sub plans in your sub folder.
Can I be fired?
The goal is to stand in solidarity. LRSD cannot fire 1800 members. If they fire some and not others, that is disparate treatment and a violation of the law. The district can then be sued.
Can I lose my benefits?
Not unless you are fired. They will not discontinue benefits in the case of a strike.
Are strikes illegal in Arkansas?
No, strikes are not illegal in Arkansas.
Can I use sick leave if we strike?
No, you cannot use sick leave unless you are sick and can prove that you are sick with a doctor’s note.
What’s going to happen to the children while you’re on strike?
We are hopeful that parents and students will join us on the picket lines and at the capitol to demand that the state return local control. That being said, we also know that our community partners will be opening up sites for our students to go to where they will be fed and cared for.
How will parents be notified?
Parents have their own organizing channels. Those channels will notify the parents.
Has LREA considered reaching out to the parent group?
We have engaged with the parent and community groups. We are working with them to ensure that our students are taken care of in the event of a strike and to ensure that they will not be subbing or volunteering.
What do you say to that single parent or couple who can’t afford to stay home from work to watch his/her/their kid while you’re on strike?
I think that this is a really a question for the Governor and the dire economic situations that many of our families face in Arkansas. What we are trying to do is protect the right to a public education for all of our students to lift them out of this type of inequity.
What is #OneLRSD?
A coalition of educators, parents, faith-based organizations, community members, and others who believe that the resegregation of our district is wrong and who want a full return to local control of our district. LREA is part of the #OneLRSD coalition. The coalition supports full local control and full autonomy for our district, as well as being committed to working to prevent the resegregation of our district. The coalition’s specific demands including the following:
- #OneLRSD supports implementing community schools with support services like nutritious meal programs, health care, and after school programs for those students who need these services.
- #OneLRSD supports one locally and democratically elected school board for LRSD—one with full decision-making authority.
- LREA has a record of standing up for students for more than 65-years. #OneLRSD supports returning bargaining authority to LREA so it can continue to stand for Little Rock students and the community.
- #OneLRSD supports a wage increase for bus drivers, cafeteria workers, instructional aides, and other public school support staff to ensure they are best equipped to make decisions to ensure students’ safety, well-being, and academic success.
How are you going to get the governor to meet the demands?
It is clear to us that it is going to take the entire community of LR standing together to send the message that resegregation is unacceptable. The Governor and the State Board have failed the students of LRSD by their own measures over the past five years, and it is time for them to return the district to full local control and the people who know and understand our students.
What happens after the strike?
Our hope is that the Governor and his appointees will return full local control to the LRSD, because it is clear from their actions and the MOU that was released that this is not their intent and nobody in this community is confused by it.
How is LREA being recognized by the district going to help kids?
We are the only organization that is standing up for the children of the LRSD and their learning conditions. We are the guardians of public education in the state and we are committed to standing up for our students.