Alpine teachers strike for third day; talks continue - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Alpine teachers strike for third day; talks continue

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(CBS 8/Kelly Hessedal) (CBS 8/Kelly Hessedal)

ALPINE (CBS 8) - Teachers in Alpine are back on the picket line Monday after negotiations broke down over the weekend. 

Teachers are fighting for money and benefits but the district says it's tapped out. 

Alpine teachers walked off the job Thursday. But this really started 16 months ago when their last contract expired. Following several years with no raises -- they came to the table wanting more money. The district came back with cuts to their salary and benefits.

"It's money... The district doesn't have it and the union leaders want it and that's the sticking point at this point," Superintendent Tom Pellegrino said.

The district says its current budget is just over a million dollars in the red and that the proposed cuts to teachers will save about $400,000. They believe new state revenues combined with some cuts in other areas should wipe out the rest of the deficit.

"I think there's misinformation about how others believe there's money that doesn't exist - so - that's where we're at," Pellegrino said.

Ninety-three percent of teachers honored the strike Thursday and Friday and attendance at the district's schools is way down.

Teachers say that's because parents know what their kids are missing - with them out of the classroom.

"Our expertise... And our love... Our experience - our connections... It's irreplaceable," Alpine teachers association president Gayle Malone said.

But district leaders believe attendance will start to rise starting Monday.

"We have a credentialed teacher in every classroom... And there is real solid learning going on," Pellegrino said.

And the message from teachers to parents?

"Just keep supporting us... And we appreciate it... Stay strong," Malone said.

The district's teachers plan to meet Monday morning to update each other on the situation - for now - the strike continues.

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