For the second time in a month, elementary school teachers in National City rallied outside of district headquarters to show their resolve to reach a contract settlement with the district.
“Fair contract now.” That’s what close to 100 teachers chanted outside the administrative offices of the National School District Wednesday night.
Teachers say they want the right tools, supplies and time to properly prepare for, and put into practice, some of the initiatives the district has rolled out.
They say the district is not considering their input, and teachers are being given too much to do in one day.
“Teachers, as it is, are already busy enough in one day, but to add on more and more, it becomes tedious,” said fifth-grade teacher and Union President Christina Benson.
Benson said she wants the district to listen to teachers who know what can and can’t be done in a school day.
Teachers also say they want a pay raise in the final year of their current contract, claiming good teachers are going to other districts that pay more.
“We’ve lost a lot of teachers, we’ve lost a lot of psychologists and speech pathologists and counselors to other districts,” said union organizer Tamlyn McKean.
According to McKean, teachers are asking for a 6-percent pay raise for the third year of their current contract. She says the district is offering a one percent bonus, not to be included as an ongoing pay increase impacting their next contract to be negotiated in February.
“They can do better than that,” McKean said, referring to the district. And if not, “It means our teachers are still underpaid, overworked and underappreciated. Will they stay?”
The District said it could not comment because it is in the middle of contract negotiations.