API performing schools fight for teachers

March 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
There have been many sleepless nights and stressful days for California teachers lately. 26,000 pink-slips are expected to go out by Friday and in Fremont, the school district is facing some tough decisions.

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Considering the circumstances, there was a very civilized school board meeting that took place Wednesday night. Still, it was very solemn because everyone knows the pending cuts are going to hurt.

Fremont teachers and supporters were simply hoping to shave a sliver off the nearly $22 million in proposed cuts. Eight of the state's top 10 Academic Performance Index or API performing schools are in Fremont, but now kindergarten thru sixth grade students will see class size balloon above 30 kids.

"I want to remind everyone again that all these cuts can be avoided if every employee was asked to take home, on average, $10 less per day," said Deepak Sabherwal a parent.

Approximately, 269 teachers and counselors will get pink slips and those who survive will see a two-percent pay cut.

"Find a solution without cutting programs and laying off teachers. In no other country is it heard of to lay off teachers. Our education system is becoming a mockery for the world to see," said Pooj a Sabharwal, a parent.

However, the worst of the Bay Area cuts are in Mount Diablo Unified School District where 600 teachers could be fired. Wednesday night, teachers rallied to help kick off a statewide protest leading up to Pink Friday. That is the deadline to issue preliminary termination notices. The California Teachers Association started the protest Wednesday in Burlingame.

"California already ranks 47th in the nation in education spending and the race to the bottom has got to stop," said David Sanchez, the California Teachers Association president.

The union estimates 2,600 termination notices will be issued because the legislature cut more than $11 billion from education. Los Angeles Unified will see the most with 6,500 teachers in jeopardy. Regardless, across the state every community is feeling some loss, including Millbrae where the entire instrumental music program will be eliminated.

"As in many Bay Area districts this is the year music dies," said Art McGaw, a Millbrae teacher.

One gentleman mentioned this could all be avoided if every employee took home $10 less a day. Fremont school officials agree that is true, but they say that's not something the unions are interested in negotiating. This Friday the 13th we're expected to see massive protests across the state.

Click here for a list of 'Pink Friday' events

Click here to listen to Ballin's song about school cuts.

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