By Tim Jimenez and Joe Holden 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Officials with the School District of Philadelphia say around a thousand teachers took today off.

A number of them are taking part in May Day protests in the city to once again draw attention to their long-time contract dispute.

For the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers it’s a “May Day of Advocacy for Philly Schools.”

One of the organizers, Jessica Way, says they used personal days so they could rally for a fair deal.

“It wasn’t easy to make the choice not to be with our kids today but we did this, as one of our fabulous teacher’s stated, so that all of us will still be with our students when our schools open in September.”

Even though they weren’t in class on this day, parent Kendra Brooks says overall they continue to do the job despite the lack of contract and other obstacles.

“Four years with job security – they still showed up. Four years without a raise – our teachers showed up. Without paper, books, short staffed – teachers showed up.”

A school district spokesman says they prepared for the May Day absences so school would still be in session.

As for a new contract, he says they are still actively negotiating.

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