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Teachers launch 'Pink Friday' campaign

March 11, 2009 5:26:43 PM PDT
Wearing pink shirts and ties, members of the California Teachers Association announced Wednesday that 25,000 of its members statewide will be laid off.

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The announcement marked the official launch of the association's "Pink Friday" campaign. Wednesday through Friday, school districts around the Bay Area will protests the cuts.

The dramatic number of job cuts comes just one day after I-A Unified said it would deliver pink slips to 6500 teachers. That district has more than 45,000 educators.

"It will affect mostly our kids in the primary levels, because that means that those classes will probably go up in numbers," said teacher Mary Rose Ortega.

Given Sacramento's $11.6 billion budget cuts to schools and colleges, this is no ordinary year for layoffs.

"More than 25,000 educators are expecting to receive pink slips, easily double the amount than this time last year," said David Sanchez, President of the California Teachers Association.

These pink slips are only preliminary and can be rescinded. In past years about half the teachers laid off were re-hired.

Art McGaw is a music teacher in Millbrae. Their entire instrumental music program will be eliminated.

"As in many Bay Area districts, this is the year music died," he told supporters Wednesday.

Matt Ballin is a drama teacher in Fremont. He will perform a song Wednesday night before the school board to protest the layoffs of 160 teachers.

"If you can manage two years in a classroom you're probably worth keeping. And, to think we're going to get rid of those people and then ask them to come back. It doesn't make a career move here very attractive," he said.

The CTA figures show more than 26,000 pink slips have been handed out so far this year. Last year that figure was more than 10,000 with over 6,000 of those jobs saved.

From Southern California to the Central Valley and the Bay Area school districts have already begun their marches and their rallies.

Click here to listen to Ballin's song.

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