Fresno Unified teachers say they are nowhere closer to reaching an agreement with school district

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For months, the Fresno Teacher's Association has been demanding more compensation, smaller class sizes, and better healthcare. (KFSN)

There was little doubt about the outcome of this momentous vote. For months, the Fresno Teacher's Association has been demanding more compensation, smaller class sizes, and better healthcare. But they said Fresno Unified School District is only offering them the status quo.

"The district has responded with absolutely nothing, and that is very discouraging when we're trying to develop a partnership, an authentic partnership, to move this district forward," said Manuel Bonilla, Fresno Unified Teacher.

More than a thousand teachers showed up for a rally Wednesday hoping district leaders would hear their concerns. Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson says he does and that the district has already compromised on several points.

"I think you'd have to ask people across the community if thought a 3.5 percent raise retroacted to a 2.5 percent to 2016 and reducing people's health costs by half constitutes a status quo."

Nelson said the district has to be careful with its money so it doesn't slip back into financial turmoil that previously pushed them towards bankruptcy. But teachers said with Fresno Unified's budget increasing every year the district can afford more.

"You know they can pay more plus do things like smaller classroom sizes, more support for students, safety and discipline and still have a healthy reserve. And so when they don't we have to ask why is it that they can't do it," said Bonilla.

The rally ended with the union presenting a counter proposal -- among the demands, to boost salaries by 10 percent over the next three years and asking for a cap on the number of students in each classroom.

"We're still collaborating, again there's 20 articles that are open for negotiation, and we are going back and forth on all of those articles," said Nelson.

A lengthy process set to continue when both sides sit down again at the bargaining table in June.

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