Teachers are asking for a 10 percent raise over two years. The school district is nowhere near meeting their demands.
Teachers in the New Haven School District have never been on strike. But what they lack in experience they make up in enthusiasm.
RELATED: Hundreds of New Haven Unified teachers on strike in Union City, Hayward
Still, being on the picket line is disconcerting to Erin Dal Porto, a teacher. "I did not think it would come to this. I think we've always been able to reach an agreement with district administrators," expressed Dal Porto.
Teachers want a 10 percent raise over two years, the district had offered a 3 percent bonus for the first year and a 1 percent raise the second.
Last night, the district moved slightly.
This happening now in Union City. Teachers are on strike demanding better wages. pic.twitter.com/eJ5CtI2wCf— Lyanne Melendez (@LyanneMelendez) May 20, 2019
"We added contingency language that said if the revenue comes in higher then we'll give an additional half or one percent ongoing raise," explained John Mattos, School District spokesperson.
Any new revenue is unlikely since the district has repeatedly said it is experiencing declining enrollment. Their funding is based on the number of enrolled students.
"District managers are not prioritizing spending their money close to the classroom on teachers and counselors," said Vince Furia, a teacher.
RELATED: Deal reached between San Ramon Valley teachers, district
Teachers here have the highest salaries in Alameda County, but they have to pay their own health care insurance.
"The biggest struggle I've had besides raising rent prices is raising health insurance prices," added Dal Porto.
At Searles Elementary, of the 600 students enrolled, only 90 showed up.
Julie Ferrario, a parent, kept her kids at home to show her support for teachers. "We've been catching up on a lot of work at home and today we decided to take a bike ride to come down here and support the teachers," said Ferrario.
Valerie Salinas told us wants to get feedback from her daughter before sending her back to school.
"I want to see how they play it out. I want to get my daughter's perspective versus them telling her what they are going to do," said Salinas.