San Ysidro teachers ready to walk off the job - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Ysidro teachers ready to walk off the job

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SAN YSIDRO (CBS 8) - Teachers in San Ysidro say they are ready to walk off the job unless a settlement is reached in a months-long contract dispute with district officials.

While district officials have proposed an eight-percent pay cut for the next three years, union representatives for the teachers are countering with demands for a one-percent pay increase, smaller class sizes and better health benefits.

Dozens of teachers, as well as supportive parents, protested outside San Ysidro's district headquarters before Thursday evening's school board meeting.

"We get NO respect from these people. The only thing they've got going on down here is qualified, dedicated teachers, and they treat us like dirt!," shouted fifth-grade teacher Jeff Scarlett.

An outside arbiter is now working with both sides to try to come to an agreement. Teachers are also awaiting the results of a special "fact-finding" report, which is supposed to definitively determine the status of the district's finances.

Many teachers have accused district officials of hiding available funds that they say could be used toward raises.

"We're not hiding anything," said San Ysidro interim superintendent George Cameron. "It doesn't help anybody to have a strike. We're going to work to avoid that, and I hope they do as well."
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