Rally for smaller class sizes and district support - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rally for smaller class sizes and district support

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Wednesday is the next round in the fight for smaller class sizes and an increase in teacher pay and benefits.

San Diego Unified School District teachers rallied Wednesday morning at Serra High School in Tierrasanta alongside parents and students for what they're calling the "Fight for Five."

Their plan was to meet at eight different campuses Wednesday, including Chavez, Rodriguez, Jefferson, Oak Park, Rowan, Spreckels, Kumeyaay elementary schools.

The teachers are demanding lower class sizes, more counselors, nurses and special education support, enrichment classes for elementary students, and improvement for teachers' planning time, salary and benefits.

CBS News 8 spoke with representatives from the San Diego Education Association and school counselor Mary Turnberg, who says teachers and staff have too many students to handle.

"I need to know every aspect of what helps them learn and there's no way I can meet with all 450 on a regular basis,” said Turnberg.

The San Diego Unified School District is $18 to $30 million short in their budget and the board president said the state hasn't restored funds from the last recession.

Teachers are calling for an eight percent raise over the next three years versus the two percent offered by the district. They claim the money is going somewhere else.

"The executives down at the district office are getting up to 25 percent raises and they're not offering teachers more than one or two percent, there's something wrong with that,” said Turnberg.

"What's interesting is the superintendent has given raises to administrators at the education center up to 26 percent. They're putting money not in the classroom," added Scripps Ranch teacher Julia Knoff.

Five thousand signatures were recently collected in support of the teachers. Contract bargaining began in May 2014 and teachers believe the district has the money after "Prop 30" was passed, which raised California taxes to fund schools.

San Diego Unified School District says: "We have what we believe to be a fair, responsive and responsible offer on the table. We're interested in providing a fair contract to our educators as we continue working together in the best interest of our students and our schools."

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