Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324
INGLEWOOD – The California Teachers Association’s launch of a statewide “Cuts Hurt” bus tour today immediately focused attention on damages from the governor’s proposed $4.8 billion in public education cuts. Bus stops today at schools in Inglewood and Rialto showed how teacher layoff notices and other cuts are hurting students and communities.
“The governor’s proposal to balance the state budget through cuts alone would be devastating to our students and the future of California,” David A. Sanchez, president of the 340,000-member CTA, told reporters during the bus tour today. “We have 14,000 teacher pink slips and 4,000 more for education support professionals and other school employees. Cuts of this magnitude will mean more overcrowded classrooms and the loss of vital student programs like art, music and career technical education. Any approach to solve the budget crisis must include increased revenues.”
Sanchez met with pink-slipped teachers Catherine Webb and Jamie Lynn Smith at Monroe Middle School in Inglewood Unified, recently hit by 203 educator pink slips. At Monroe, 17 of 52 educators received layoff notices, including the only art teacher. The school already had a hard time keeping teachers like Smith, recently hired, who led Sanchez and other CTA officials on a tour showing the progress being made by her sixth-grade English language development students.
“We were making good progress in my classroom and then I got the layoff notice,” Smith said. “My students will be hurt if all that I have worked for is lost because I am laid off. This has been devastating.”
Sanchez, CTA Vice President Dean E. Vogel and Secretary-Treasurer Daniel R. Vaughn also rode the “Cuts Hurt” bus to Simpson Elementary in Rialto in San Bernardino County. Rialto Unified School District teachers are reeling from 400 layoff notices. Morale is plummeting at Simpson, where fourth-grade teacher Sandra Arnold has six years of teaching experience and was shocked to get a pink slip.
“My world has been turned upside down and my students deserve better than this,” Arnold said. “At a recent open house at my school I had a mother and her daughter sobbing over all these cuts and layoff notices. This is just devastating for us all.”
Simpson students are making academic progress, but district cuts, layoffs and the likely elimination of small class sizes in K-3 classrooms “threaten all the good work that is happening here,” CTA President Sanchez said.
He will shed light on other hard-hit schools when the CTA bus visits Orange County and San Diego April 17; Bakersfield, Fresno, April 23; Redding, Chico, May 5; San Francisco Bay Area, May 14; and Sacramento, May 20.