San Ysidro teachers, already out on strike for three days, vowed Saturday not to work on Monday in their drive for a new contract that could lead to their first raises in seven years.

Officials with the San Ysidro School District and the San Ysidro Education Association, the union representing the district’s more than 200 teachers, attempted to reach an agreement Tuesday, but union members ultimately rejected an offer to up pay by 1.5 percent in exchange for adding one day to the school year and five minutes to each day. The teachers walked off the job the following day.

Union President Carol Wallace told CBS8 teachers want to be treated with respect, but interim Superintendent George Cameron said lower enrollment over the past few years has cost the district around $2.8 million in state aid.

The figure came from a fact-finding report released last month that stated district officials needed to reduce overall costs — including teacher salaries — by 8 percent “to get back to a sound financial footing.” However, the report said that a 2 percent salary cut would suffice. Striking teachers told NBC7 they were facing a 6.5 percent pay cut and some of the worst benefits in the country.

Union members wrote in a dissenting opinion piece that accompanied the report that the district clearly had the ability to pay the status quo, as well as the ability to increase employee compensation.

“To put it into perspective, a 1 percent increase to the salary schedule is only $181,000,” they wrote.

Negotiations continued Friday, as a few hundred parents supporting teachers poured into the main hallway of the district headquarters building to demand an end to the strike.

According to media reports, between 40 percent and 50 percent of students have not been attending class since the strike began. A large portion of district revenue is based on attendance, so students staying out of school will cost the district a significant amount of money.

The San Ysidro district has about 4,700 students from kindergarten to eighth grade in San Ysidro, which is a part of the City of San Diego but not part of the San Diego school system.

City News Service