Bird Rock Elementary School teachers participate in districtwide demonstrations over contract talks

Bird Rock Elementary School teachers and others demonstrate March 16.
Bird Rock Elementary School teachers and others demonstrate March 16 to call attention to bargaining between the San Diego Unified School District and its teachers union.
(Alicia Nieblas)

San Diego Unified’s teachers union has proposed raises, more counselors and nurses, reduced class sizes and more.


Bird Rock Elementary School teachers, staff and other community members participated in a demonstration March 16 over a perceived lack of response from the San Diego Unified School District to requests from its teachers union.

The event also was intended to raise community awareness, according to Alicia Nieblas, a kindergarten teacher and Bird Rock Elementary’s representative for the union, the San Diego Education Association.

Similar demonstrations were scheduled at three of the four other San Diego Unified schools in La Jolla.

SDEA officials did not respond to the La Jolla Light’s requests for comment, but a March 8 update on the union’s website stated the bargaining process occurs every few years and involves a “complex negotiation process between the district and the union.”

SDEA has $147 million in requests “focused on enhancing working conditions for educators and improving the educational experience of our students” over the next two years, according to the website.

The union has proposed a 10 percent raise for teachers for both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

Other requests include hiring more counselors and nurses, reducing class sizes and staffing shortages and providing more special-education support, Nieblas said.

SDEA has not received a district response to many of the requests in more than 100 days, she said.

“To our educators and staff members: We hear you and we appreciate you,” the district said in a statement provided by spokeswoman Maureen Magee. “Together we will continue the critical conversations to make San Diego Unified a place to live, grow and thrive for all employees, students and families.”

“The dedication of our employees to the work they do serving all students is fundamental to the success of our schools,” the statement added.

SDEA encouraged teachers at each school in the district to select a day from March 13-17 to demonstrate, Nieblas said.

About 20 BRES teachers and supporters participated in the March 16 demonstration, which began in front of the school on La Jolla Hermosa Avenue and moved to La Jolla Boulevard.

“We got a lot of honks and thumbs up from people,” Nieblas said, along with people slowing down to read the group’s signs.

“We appreciated the support of all who saw us,” she said. “Hopefully some things get resolved or agreed upon.” ◆