Art teachers protest class overcrowding

August 27, 2008 2:03:35 PM PDT
Three art teachers at Union City's James Logan High School are planning on teaching their classes outside during the first day of the school year today to protest state budget cuts that they say have overcrowded their classrooms.

The three teachers are responsible for teaching 160 pupils and claim that the classrooms are not big enough to hold their students.

The classrooms are designed to hold about 28 students and some art classes at the school had more than 50 students registered for class today.

"Three teachers should not be teaching 160 students," Charmaine Kawaguchi, one the art teachers, said in a prepared statement. "The district's cuts are related to the state budget crisis and helped cause this overcrowding at a time that California ranks 46th in the nation in per-pupil funding and has some of the largest class sizes in the nation."

The New Haven Unified School District experienced an estimated $7 million in budget cuts this year and James Logan High School is opening up today with 14 fewer teachers than last year, said Rick LaPlante, a spokesman for the school district.

"We are more or less in alignment with what the teachers are doing," he said.

He faulted the state Legislature and governor for not doing their jobs while expecting teachers to continue to do theirs.

He said elective classes are generally larger than most other classes, and tend to be inflated during the first week of school when scheduling is being sorted out.

"These classes won't be 53 a week from now," LaPlante said. "But will they be 28 or 30? I don't think so."

The outdoor art classes will be held during the school's last period at 2:30 p.m. today in the courtyard of the school at 1800 H St.


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