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Sweetwater Teachers Protest Stalled Contract Talks

— Sweetwater Union High School teachers staged a rally in Chula Vista yesterday protesting stalled contract negotiations with the district.

The Sweetwater Union High School District and the Sweetwater Education Association don't agree on a number of issues, but one of the main sticking points is larger class sizes.

The district wants teachers to have up to 30 kids. Right now there are about 28 kids on average. Sweetwater's Lillian Leopold blames the increase on the state's money problems.

“If we had our choice we wouldn't be doing these things, but we really don't have a choice,” Leopold said.

But Sweetwater Education Association president Alex Anguiano says this contractual obligation binds teachers to a bigger class sizes even if the state's money problems improve. He says the proposal opens the floodgates for even more severe overcrowding.

“The end result, you have some classes that are in the 40s and some classes in the high 30s. It's very hurtful to children,” Anguiano said.

Both sides have filed unfair labor charges over the way negotiations are being handled. They're waiting on an independent fact-finding report to move forward.

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