LA County

Compton School Teachers Call in Sick Again

For the second time this week, teachers in the Compton Unified School District have staged a sickout during the ongoing contract negotiations, district officials said.

School Board Member Satra Zurita said in a statement that "many" teachers at nine schools had called out sick Friday, marking "the second time this week that the teachers have chosen to miss work and carry over the issues related to the contract negotiations to our students, schools, and community."

Zurita did not say how many teachers missed work Friday, but the school district was prepared to call in substitutes in anticipation of the alleged sickout.

On Monday, more than 200 CUSD teachers called in sick, including 44 at Compton High, as well as Bursch Elementary, Kelly Elementary and Centennial High.

"The salaries are not keeping with the cost of living," said Jorge Torrentes, one of three teacher who did show up to work Friday at Walton Middle School. "Sometimes circumstances force teachers to do this. Teachers have asked patiently for things, try to negotiate and they're not happy."

Torrentes says the last time teachers got a raise was two years ago – after seven years of trying. He says they're still underpaid.

"Paycheck should not be an issue," he said. "The issue should be, are students learning? Are teachers doing their job?"

Friday marked the fourth time in the last two years that Compton's teachers have been accused of calling a sickout - a day when workers agree to call out sick as a form of protest.

The teachers union and school district are locked in contract negotiations over wages.

Some parents like Margarita Zaragoza are siding with teachers, saying the district's inability to negotiate hurts the students in the long run.

"If I was a teacher and they didn't pay me, what do I have to do?" she said.

No word if the sickout will continue next week, but the district says if it does, substitutes are on standby.

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