Dozens of angry teachers picketed a Moorpark Unified School District meeting Tuesday night to protest stalled contract negotiations.
Despite mediation from state officials, the talks have not produced positive results, said Richard Gillis, president of the Moorpark Educators Assn.
The protesters said school district officials are hinting that if the teachers want a raise they will have to accept more students in their classrooms, Gillis said.
"That's not acceptable to us or to a lot of parents," he said.
District officials said no formal proposal to increase class size has been presented, but they added that there was discussion to increase the size of physical education classes and possibly add one student to each high school class.
"It's much more complex then (the union) is letting on," district Supt. Thomas Duffy said.
The district's 250 teachers are asking for a 1% pay raise, which amounts to about a $35-per-month increase for each teacher, Gillis said. Teachers have not had a raise in four years and have been without a contract for two, Gillis said.
Although Duffy agreed that teachers have not received a raise in four years, he said teachers have regularly received scheduled salary increases based on how long they have been working in the district.
While district officials are still projecting a possible budget deficit in three years, Duffy said he believes the district will be able to work out a way to give the teachers a pay raise.
"We just need to work creatively to do that," he said.