District cuts 116 staff, 80 teachers

March 10, 2009 11:36:48 PM PDT
San Jose's East Side Union High School District decided to eliminate hundreds of jobs on Tuesday night. Hundreds of people were at Independence High School to fight for their jobs and to save athletic programs.

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Members of California's School Employees and Teachers Association want the East Side Union High School District to take action and save their jobs.

The board did vote in favor of change, but not the kind anyone in the audience wanted. Members eliminated nearly 200 positions -- 116 support staffers and 80 teachers.

"There's going to be about 80 pink slips and possibly I'm going to be one of them," said Raymond Iniguez, a teacher.

The pink slips start going out on Wednesday. The hardest hit teaching areas will be in math and English. Iniguez doesn't teach either, but he's assuming the worst, since he just joined the district last year and has no seniority.

"It's kind of hard and scary to leave somewhere where you were brought up and born and love being," Iniguez.

"Teachers, they're here for support when some students can't even find any. It's just really sad that the ones who care the most, will be cut from us," said Monica Sabateri, a student.

The board has to get rid of a budget deficit of approximately $23 million. The superintendent insists decisions made Tuesday night aren't necessarily final.

"What I see us doing is making decisions we have to make to move forward, but that we can keep revisiting those until the very last minute," said District Superintendent Bob Nunez.

While the board hopes the state will come through with more money, this Christine Van Osdel isn't holding her breath.

"I'm just lucky my daughter is a junior and will be out of this soon," said Van Osdel, a parent.

As for sports, the board voted not to cut any sports all together. Instead, athletes will have to pay $200 to play their sport. Still, booster clubs are already planning fundraisers.

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