Hundreds of teachers and staff rallied by Madison High School in San Diego Monday morning, demanding the school district rescind their layoff notices.
Nearly 300 educators have told the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) that they will participate in the four-day hearing for educators to contest their pink slips, according to SDUSD.
They rallied at the 4800 block of Doliva Drive at 8:30 a.m., while chanting about the teacher's union, saying: "We are the union, fighting for schools, fighting for justice, everywhere we go."
Some of the teachers say these upcoming layoffs will diminish the students' quality of education. Educators say many schools are concerned they will not have enough substitutes available to cover classes next week.
"I don't want to be worried about this. I don't want to come here today. I want to be with my kids, but I have to be here and I have to stand with my fellow teachers," said Pattrick Trotter, a teacher for the District.
More than $120 million in debt will prompt the layoff of one in seven teachers in the District. Now teachers are wondering how the District plans to make sure children still receive a top-notch education with less resources.
Some teachers say the lack of job security is discouraging future educators from pursuing a teaching career.
"No one wants to sub and no one wants to be a teacher because I have been teaching since 2005 but I didn't become permanent until 2012 and I am still worrying about job security," Amber Hazwski, an art teacher for the District, told NBC 7.
Nearly 1,000 educators will be laid off if the District continues with its current plan for budget cuts.
"Not all the students are going to be scientists and brains surgeons," said Hazwski. "We need the art, we need the music and we especially need the P.E. The kids need some physical activity."
The hearings will continue for three more days, to make sure the District followed proper protocol when issuing pink slips and picking where the cuts would be made.
Educators say the notices were sent to cover a worst-case scenario budget shortfall which has not yet come to pass, according to the San Diego Education Association.
In response to the rally, the District released a statement saying, "The teacher's union is doing an outstanding job representing the interest of their members and we respect their role. However, the district must remain focused on our service to our students and the entire City of San Diego."