Escondido teachers fight for better pay, benefits in contract negotiations

ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- Escondido teachers came out by the hundreds once again ahead of Thursday's school board meeting, rallying for better pay and benefits amid lengthy contract negotiations.

A meeting in mid-March saw more than 500 teachers, with many spilling into the hallways. Thursday's meeting was at capacity and this time, there was extra security and a couple of over overflow rooms for people to watch their fellow teachers speak out.

Cheers and chants could be heard both inside the room and outside as the meeting carried on.

"I don’t need praise, I need a raise," said one man.

Teachers have been demanding to be paid more comparable to yearly cost of living adjustments, or “COLA”.  They’ve also asked for better benefits and more manageable class sizes.

Teacher contracts expired in July and since then, the union and district have not been able to reach a compromise.

District officials tell FOX 5 there have been 17 negotiating sessions and 10 different offers on the table. They’re calling their April offer their best and final offer.

A budget presentation was also given, showing the district can afford its last offer, but according to officials, going beyond it would jeopardize the district’s financial well being.

The next negotiating session is scheduled for May 21.

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