State budget cuts have resulted in 107 educators in the district receiving pink slips, notifying them that they will not have jobs to return to next year. Parents in the communities served by the K-8 district, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Los Altos and Saratoga, decided to take matters into their own hands.
They are trying to raise $3 million that will be used to save the teachers' jobs. They announced Wednesday that, since the layoff notices went out on March 15, they have raised $1 million.
"I find myself so lucky to be part of a community that has such a strong parent voice," teacher Carol Crouthamel said.
They need to come up with the remainder by May 15, the legal deadline for district layoff decisions.
They raised the money by asking residents, businesses and anyone they could think of for donations.
Melissa Neumann has twins in kindergarten and is one of the parents behind the grass roots campaign. She says if the teacher jobs are not restored, K-3rd grade classes will rise from 20 students to 30, threatening the quality of her children's educations.
"It's pretty impressive and actually we're really proud, but the problem is we can't stop, we have $2 million to go and only 25 days," Neumann said.
The district has already trimmed administration staff, cut its energy bills and is looking at other options like employee furloughs. First grade teacher Susan Kitson tells ABC7 she knew her job would be on the line because she has only been teaching for a year. She says getting a pink slip was "heartbreaking" but she is optimistic the parents' effort will succeed.
There are 18.000 students in the district and according to the superintendent, 11 of the schools have been recognized by the state as Distinguished California Schools. Two elementary schools take the first and second place spots for test scores, and several middle schools are in the top 10.
The Cupertino Educational Endowment Foundation, a non-profit already affiliated with the schools, is handling the donations. In an agreement with the parents and the district, the foundation will make sure the money goes specifically to restore teaching positions.