Rally held in hopes of averting San Ysidro teacher strike

SAN YSIDRO, Calif. - Members of the San Ysidro Education Association staged a rally prior to Thursday's school board meeting in an effort to avoid a possible strike.

Most of the teachers at the rally wore red shirts for solidarity as they chanted, "Fair contract now! Fair contract now!"

They also carried signs warning that San Ysidro teachers are almost on strike.

Earlier this year, members authorized a teacher strike, with salary cuts, class sizes and other issues factoring into the decision.

Teacher Jeffrey Scarlett blamed the board for the economic difficulties facing the district, saying, "They spent themselves into oblivion …"

Another teacher, Patricia Manley, shared the same thought.

"This whole time they're spending and spending and spending; they want the teachers to take pay cut, pay cut, pay cut," said Manley.

Contract talks continue with a mediator but it's been a year. Now, a strike is threatened, perhaps as early as next week -- a month after the start of this term.

Teacher Nancy Crespo lamented, "We just feel like we're cornered. There's nothing else to do."

Interim Superintendent George Cameron told 10News he hopes they don't strike.

"If we had the money to put on the table, we would have done that by now," said Cameron.

But if they do walk off the job, he said there's a plan in place.

"We are prepared, fully prepared. We have fully qualified substitutes ready to step in," Cameron said.

Scarlett talked about what's at stake, saying, "It's going to be money out of our pockets if we go on strike. We don't want the turmoil. We're here to do a job and we want to go back to work."

In a news release issued Thursday morning, the SYEA stated:

"Despite the fact that San Ysidro schools will fare quite well under a new state funding formula that provides additional resources for districts with high numbers of low income students and English language learners, the district has continued to low-ball revenue projections and grossly overstate expenditures in non-classroom related budget areas. SYEA believes the strike can be averted with more realistic projections and the inclusion of language which would share additional revenues with teachers if the district budget projections are wrong."

The SYEA was also critical of the San Ysidro School District for continuing "to spend excessively on consultants, attorneys, and other items that have little or no direct benefit to students."

SYEA President Carol Wallace said, "Teachers are sincerely hoping we can avert this strike and remain where we want to be, in our classrooms with our students. There is still time for the district to face the facts and deal with real numbers. They have a responsibility to our students and to our community to do the right thing."

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