Elementary school teachers in Chula Vista are one step closer to a strike after they rejected the district’s latest offer.
The faculty has been protesting for months over salaries and health benefits, saying they have not had a raise in seven years, though most do get the automatic step and column increase.
Now, their negotiations with the Chula Vista Elementary School District are moving into the fact finding portion – the last step before the teachers had legally walk out.
That something no one – including parents – wants to happen.
“I am worried for the kids, the students, and everything. I've been through on strike when I was younger,” said mother Veroniza Nunez.
Parents’ concern may be heightened because the district Superintendent Francisco Escobedo emailed a letter to them to explain what’s going on.
According to that letter, the district offered teachers a 6 percent raise and a $1,500 boost in health benefits.
Escobedo says the offer is not just reasonable, but generous.
“If you look at the salary scales of our district compared to any district in the South County, with that 6 percent increase, we'll have the highest paid teacher -- beginning teacher, as well as the other extreme,” Escobedo told NBC 7.
However, the teachers union President Manuel Yvellez said the district is not looking at equal comparisons.
"The superintendent compares this to South Bay schools, these South Bay districts and only South Bay districts, these very small districts -- Coronado having three elementary schools. We have 40 elementary schools. We're to be compared to a big district like San Diego Unified,” said Yvellez.
Teachers say the pay bump is not enough to make up for past years and that some families would still pay more than $8,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for health care.
The district says with the raise, the lowest salary would be $46,209 and the highest would be $92,864.
Officials claim that ending salary is higher than the top paid San Diego Unified teacher.
The numbers will be sorted out and verified in the fact finding segment of negotiation’s, during which a panel looks at information and comes up with a report that may or may not bring both side back to the table.