San Ysidro teachers strike over proposed contract, pay cuts - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Ysidro teachers strike over proposed contract, pay cuts

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SAN YSIDRO (CBS 8) – More than 200 teachers in the San Ysidro School District went on strike Wednesday.

"Teachers want to be treated with some respect," said Carol Wallace, San Ysidro Education Association President.

The District says in the past 18 months it has met with the Education Association 21 times. On Tuesday they met for about 10 hours before the union rejected the final offer of a two percent pay raise, five minutes added to each school day, professional days and full-time kindergarten. The union considered the pay raise at 1.5 percent.

"It's not really an increase. You work more, you get paid more," said Wallace. 

"They don't care about us, and this is what I'm teaching my students," first grade teacher, Leonor Garcia said.

The interim superintendent says the district cannot afford to wiggle.

"No, it's not good news. It's unfortunate that we weren't able to arrive at a settlement agreement," said George Cameron, Ed.D., San Ysidro Interim Superintendent.

He references a fact finding report saying low enrollment in the past four years has cost the district $2.8 million dollars in state aid.

"We are a school district that three entities have indicated to us that we are in a financial crisis, we are a school district that has a declining enrollment," he said.

Teachers who sat at the negotiation table say they are exhausted, but want to do what's right.

"Hurt that they don't even respect us enough to help the people who have been helping them all along," said Kristal Dominguez, 3rd grade teacher, Smythe Elementary. "I'm sorry it has to come to this but we are actually standing up for their children."

Teachers were told before they left school on Tuesday to leave a lesson plan and seating chart. The San Ysidro School District reported that only 7 out of 10 students showed up at one school Wednesday. Classes were led by substitute teachers as extra police officers swarmed campuses.  

"These are the very teachers that support our teachers when they are out ill," Cameron said.

"Parents are going to have to make a choice. Parents are going to have to go into the schools and assure themselves there are real teachers doing real curriculum. That their children are safe and they have the right to keep their children out of school if that is what they feel," said Judy Crespo, a kindergarten teacher at Smythe Elementary.

The interim superintendent says they have hired more security during the strike.  

"We are going to keep the day as normal as possible for our children," Cameron said.

Teachers plan to strike on Wednesday for the start of school, after school and also at Goodies in National City for a Democratic fundraiser.

Wednesday night's board meeting was cancelled. Trustees were supposed to vote to impose the three-year contract that calls for a 6.5 percent salary cut.

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