South Bay teachers rally for salary, class size improvements

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Hundreds of teachers rallied at the Chula Vista Elementary School District meeting Wednesday, calling for increased salaries and decreased class sizes. 

The Chula Vista Educators union is engaged in contract negotiations with the school district. While teachers negotiate for the best possible contract, the district says it is trying to be fiscally responsible as it struggles with a budget deficit.

A crowd of hundreds of educators from 47 Chula Vista schools made their frustrations known at the district’s Board of Trustees meeting.

“We’re not asking for much, but we’re asking what’s fair,” teacher Jonathan Herrera told FOX 5.

Educators say they rejected an earlier district offer because it demanded students and teachers sacrifice reasonable class sizes. The union says the district proposed they forgo a salary and benefits increase next year in order to secure a 1% raise, a 1% bonus and compression of their salary schedule. 

“They have the money,” CVE Union President Susan Skala said. “They need to prioritize their students and prioritize their teachers. You cannot put students first when you put educators last.”

But the district says it is deficit spending by $6.41 million -- and that number is expected to increase next year.

“The pension costs that we pay our employees, in addition to the skyrocketing special educations costs, are causing ... costs to outpace revenue growth,” Chula Vista Elementary School District spokesperson Anthony Millican said. 

Both sides are expected to head back to the bargaining table in a session on Thursday.

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