At the final school bell, Chula Vista teachers walked out together Wednesday at elementary schools across the district, vowing to work no more than their contracted hours.

Teachers in the Chula Vista Elementary School District have worked with an expired contract since June, according to Michelle Kohler, organizing chair of the Chula Vista Educators.

Kohler said the union, which represents the district’s 1,400 teachers, psychologists, nurses and speech therapists, has been trying to secure a fair raise that reflects that educators are valued for the time they spend on students.

As students returned from holiday break, teachers planned the one-day demonstration to illustrate the hours they typically spend beyond the seven-hour school day, often at after-school meetings, events and planning.

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“It is very well known that educators work often past their contract hours, which means that we’re not getting paid for it,” added Courtney Green, CVE vice president. “So today, we are walking out at the end of our contract hours in solidarity to show parents, the community and the district that we would like to be respected for the amount of time that we’ve put into our career, especially in this very challenging time of working through the pandemic.”

Green said that contract negotiation meetings with the district are spread throughout the year and so far have been unsuccessful.

“It’s very frustrating for the educators on our bargaining team who had to give up time in their classroom to come to these wasted bargaining sessions that keep being prolonged,” Green said.

The district’s Interim Superintendent Oscar Esquivel responded to a request for comment with an email, stating, “Each of our schools is busy welcoming back students, their families and staff to the start of the new school quarter. We look forward to continuing our work with our teachers and support staff to make this a successful and safe school year for all.”

Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com

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