Teachers facing pay cuts shout at board members in Alpine

ALPINE, Calif. - Teachers shouted at school board members in Alpine during a heated meeting Tuesday after learning their salaries and benefits would be taking massive cuts starting in February of 2014.

"Let us speak! Let us speak! Let us speak!" the packed crowd chanted from the elementary school gymnasium.

Ninety-one teachers will be looking at an average cut of about 30 percent.

"If we had the money to give the teachers, we would give it," said Alpine Union School District Superintendent Tom Pellegrino. "And we don't have the money."

Teacher Beth Bresnahan, who has taught for 28 years, says she is going to lose her home.

"I've already started to pack up some boxes," she said.

The district blames declining enrollment, escalating health costs and state cuts. Teachers say all of those problems were in the forecast years ago and they are prepared to strike.

"If we go out on strike, that's even more money out of pocket, but I'm willing to do that," said Bresnahan. "We have to stand strong."

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