The Newton teachers' strike entered its third day Tuesday, with as many as 2,000 union members walking in picket lines in front of Newton City Hall until the impasse can be resolved.

Strikes by public employees are illegal in Massachusetts, and fines are mounting against the Newton Teachers' Association after a Middlesex County judge began imposing penalties on Monday. The union has been assessed $25,000 already, and will face another $50,000 in penalties if the strike continues past 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“We knew that there would be fines when we took the vote to strike,” David Bedar, a Newton history teacher and a member of the union’s executive committee. “The fact that 98% of the membership still voted to strike should be illustrative of how serious this is."

Negotiations have been ongoing for 16 months between teachers and the city. Bedar said raises for educators, including teachers' aides, remains a sticking point, along with adding better mental health support for students.

“We're looking to get a social worker in every elementary and middle school and the Newton early childhood program,” Bedar said.

The starting full-time salary for aides is less than $30,000 a year.

Under the current contract, a full-time teacher's aide in Newton achieves a livable wage in Massachusetts for a single adult with no children after roughly a decade on the job, according to calculations by MIT.

Bedar said many aides work with special education students.

“We're fighting especially for those that are making $27,000 — I mean, a full-time job — working with the most vulnerable students,” Bedar said. “That's what people need to understand we're fighting for here. It's not simply about [cost of living adjustments for full-time teachers].”

Newton’s school committee chair Chris Brezski told GBH News that he knows “we were low,” on the salaries for aides, and that the school committee offered a pay bump.

We came into the negotiation as a committee saying, ‘You know what? We need to do better on that, on that bottom entry level for those folks,'" he said.

That offer was not accepted, Brezski said, adding that he wished the strike could’ve been averted.

“This is kids being shut out of schools again after only a couple of years removed from the pandemic,” Brezski said, “You know, I have two kids in the Newton Public Schools; I have an elementary student and a middle school student. And I mean, this is devastating to go through as a parent.”

Community Facebook groups are seeing a rising number of posts from other parents concerned about how the strike is disrupting their children’s education.

But on the picket line mid-morning Tuesday, Bedar said he saw a great amount of community support. He described a lively scene with parents, teachers, current students and alumni joining or encouraging the picketers.

The school committee was expected to issue an updated counter proposal on Tuesday.