NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Students at Northampton High School protested with a purpose today.

Dozens of students left school early, rallying to increase wages for teachers.

Student groups, including the Northampton High School Democrats, organized the walk out, which took place right before school got out for a pre-planned half day of classes.

With signs in hand, dozens of students walked out of Northampton High School Friday, chanting for a change.

"We are demanding a 6% pay raise, because, right now, they do not make enough to make a livable wage," Kambi Waldman of the Northampton High Democrats Club tells us.

Student Kambi Waldman helped organize the walk out.

She tells Western Mass News their teachers deserve to get paid more.

"I would not be where I am right now without the amazing teachers I've had, and I can see the lack of resources that we have in our school," stated Waldman.

The protest comes after teacher negotiations with the city of Northampton have come to a stand still.

Since pay is a sticking point in the negotiations, Western Mass News took a look at the average teacher salaries in the three counties of western Mass.

According to the latest information released by the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Northampton comes in on the lower side at just under $62,000 a year.

That's comparable to the salaries in Franklin County, but much lower than Amherst, which, like Northampton, is in Hampshire County.

In Hampden County we found a large difference between salaries in Chicopee and Springfield.

"I think that teachers work really hard to give us a good education, especially in a great town like this, so I think they should be paid more," says Waldman.

On Monday, teachers are planning to implement work to rule, where they will only be working their contracted hours, which means no before school or after school help for students.

Waldman and other students support the work to rule.

"We are in favor of work to rule, which is Northampton High School, and teachers within our district will not do anything outside of their contract," one student tells us.

While others think it will have a major impact on their grades...

"I don't think it is fair to the students about teachers not being able to stay after, so students should come during lunch to retake a quiz," says one student.

Time is starting to run out for the teachers union and the city to come to an agreement.

In Northampton, the current teacher contract ends June 30th.

We reached out to the mayor's office and the superintendent, but they both declined to comment.

More on this story on Western Mass News starting at 5 p.m.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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