Classes were canceled on Monday as dozens of educators picketed outside Malden High School, cheering as passing cars honked in support, and chanting “1, 2, 3, 4, students are who we’re fighting for; 5, 6, 7, 8, a fair contract cannot wait.”

The Malden teachers were among almost 800 on strike in that city, along with about 700 teachers also striking in Haverhill. The educators say their districts need to raise wages to remain competitive with other schools in the region, and that their respective school committees “are showing no interest in addressing needs we see as critical to our students’ success,” according to a statement announcing both strikes on Friday.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association represents educators in both districts, but the contracts are negotiated separately.

Malden Public Schools did not immediately return a request for comment, and Haverhill Public Schools told GBH News Monday morning that a statement might be forthcoming later in the day, after the latest session of contract negotiations wrapped up.

Malden Education Association president Deb Gesualdo said school committee negotiators walked away from the bargaining table on Sunday and declared an impasse. She said the main sticking point was compensation.

“I can tell you that for our paraprofessionals, they don't make a living wage right now,” Gesualdo said. “They start at about $22,000 [a year] ... and so we are working on crafting a new pay scale for them to bring them closer to a living wage.”

Gesualdo said that salaries for their other professional members — including teachers and assistant principals — were not competitive with other school districts in the area, such as Somerville and Cambridge. She said her district is “hemorrhaging educators" because they cannot attract and retain teachers.

In Haverhill, around 700 teachers are on strike, and some 100 paraprofessionals did not come to work on Monday in support of the strike, according to the MTA.

The MTA says the local unions in several school districts north of Boston meet regularly to discuss their work conditions and that both Haverhill and Malden felt they were facing similar problems.

Both city’s school committees started contract negotiations with educators in May, and salaries are a sticking point in both. In addition, the MTA says staffing levels and increasing the number of teachers of color are issues that remain in Haverhill.

At Malden High School Monday morning, 17-year-old senior Emmalyn Woods was among several students who were on the picket line with their teachers. She was holding a large handmade sign that said "We Love Our Teachers.”

“Me and my friends, we all kind of found out at once last night, and we decided that enough was enough,” Woods said. "We had a student walkout last year when we found out a bunch of teachers had been laid off, so this was kind of the final straw for us when we found out they weren't even being given a contract.”