THERMAL, Calif. -

Hundreds of students and parents came out to support teachers in the district looking to restart negotiations for higher wages and more prep time for teachers.

Board members with the Coachella Valley Unified School District voted to restart negotiations with the Coachella Valley Teachers Association.

Representatives with the union say they are confident they can get a deal struck with the district by a fact finding meeting on Nov. 9, but if negotiations fail the union is prepared to strike.

Negotiations are expected to begin sometime next week.

The special meeting was held in the Coachella Valley High School auditorium. So many people showed up there weren't enough seats in the building forcing dozens to stand.

The union representing CVUSD teachers claims wages in their district are lower than nearby districts and this entices teachers to move out of the district. 

"California is in a teacher shortage and it's a teacher's market. If a district offers a better rate then they are going to go somewhere else and our kids deserve the best teachers," said Richard Razo the president of the Coachella Valley Teacher's Association. 

"There is no reason that they can't pay us what we deserve, to pay what is equitable to the other districts. There's no reason why they can't give us more collaboration time just to plan for the students," said Erica Chase-Wesslen, a second grade teacher at Mountain Vista Elementary.

During public comment, before closed session, some students made a symbolic stand by dropping nationally and internationally awarded academic medals in front of school board members. The crowd responded with a standing ovation.

"They say that our district wants to help us and the teachers are here to help us, and [winning these medals] is the way that they help me. They show me that I could be a leader and I can help others be a leader someday," said Andres Dunenas, a CVHS senior.

The teachers union had been in negotiations for more than a year. Many teachers in the district have been calling in sick this week leading up to the board meeting, and students organized a walk out on Tuesday.

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