Teachers continue to strike in Alpine after board meeting - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Teachers continue to strike in Alpine after board meeting

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/CNS) - More than 90 teachers at five schools in the Alpine School District in San Diego's East County region will continue their strike.

On Thursday, teachers picketed outside of schools while classes remained in session with substitute educators, according to Superintendent Tom Pellegrino.

Thursday night teachers, parents and students packed the Alpine School Board meeting.

Parents were heated about the teacher strike.

"My kid isn't going anywhere near your school as you long as you guys have this chaos going," said Joseph Ford.

His son is in the 4th grader at Alpine Elementary and he also refused to go to school until there is a compromise.

"When I think about all of you is what did we do to you?" said Caleb Ford. "I'm not going to school till the strike is over."

Alpine Teachers Association President Gayle Malone gave them a ‘demand to bargain' paper and Superintendent Tom Pellegrino agreed to meet on Friday.

While the ATA and the district negotiate, teachers will continue to strike on Friday.

"We have given and given and given and they have spent and spent and spent and now they don't have any money gee whiz," said Malone.

At issue is an effort by the district to cut $1.35 million from its budget.

Depending on whose numbers you look at teacher salaries could be cut between 7.58 percent to 6.58 percent.

The district also wants to put an $8,000 cap on health benefits year, which could cost a single mom $1,200 a month, according to Malone.

"Draconian, yes this horrible. This is excessive, this is extreme, this is necessary," said the ATA president.

Only parent who has a child in the district spoke out against the strike.

"The last couple of days I've become a little incensed frankly. My incensed with the union," said Richard Knight.

According to a statement from the district's trustees, personnel costs make up 87 percent of expenses, making the cuts necessary.

The Alpine Teachers Association contends the district underestimated how much state funding it will receive, and that the cuts disproportionately harm teachers.

According to the ATA, actually salary reductions to individual teachers are far higher than 7.58 percent. One instructor could see 60 percent less pay, the union said.

Pellegrino said attendance was running at 64 percent of average Thursday.

One student called out Superintendent Pellegrino saying in the beginning he would play with the students.

"It kind of made me upset because he used to be really, really fun," said a student.

Pellegrino told CBS News 8 he would like to play with students but sometimes there is tough love.

"It's easy to be a fun superintendent when the money is rolling in. But when you have to make difficult hard choices it's hard to be fun," said Pellegrino.

Board trustees listened quietly and were not allowed to respond to public comment but a few were heckled when they were allowed to make statements at the end of the meeting.

"If you would prefer to be just insulting instead of letting me speak that is your choice but that doesn't solve the problem," said Trustee Joseph Perricone.

ATA reports the district is hiring substitutes for $250 a day.

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