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Teachers plan demonstration at intersections Friday

Educators to dress in pink to protest education cuts

Posted: March 11, 2009 1:21 a.m.
Updated: March 11, 2009 4:30 a.m.
 
Pink-clad teachers will pack intersections throughout the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday, part of a statewide protest against layoff notices being sent to instructors because of state budget cuts.

"I think that our Santa Clarita community needs to know that the decisions that our legislators are making today are going to impact our students for life," said Joan Oxman, president of the Saugus Union School District Teachers Association.

The California Teachers Association dubbed the day "Pink Friday" because it is the deadline for school districts to send layoff notices - "pink slips" - to teachers. Districts throughout the state are planning to increase class sizes and lay off teachers to meet budget shortfalls.

"We want to bring awareness to our community that our schools are dead last in the state and in the nation for funding," Oxman said. "That's really a significant problem. We are on a very lean, lean budget to begin with, and to make these cuts that the state has proposed is just unbelievable."

Teachers will line nine intersections in the Santa Clarita Valley wearing pink to show their support for education funding, Oxman said.

More than 19,000 pink slips had been issued to teachers across the state as of March 6, Oxman said. That number is expected to hit 23,000 by Friday's deadline, she said.

The Santa Clarita Valley's five kindergarten-through-12th-grade school districts employ 2,500 teachers, and Oxman hopes the majority will participate in the demonstration.

While individual districts have organized demonstrations in the past, coordinating their efforts on one day is new.

"We haven't had anything near this kind of catastrophic conditions before," she said. "This is the worst that it has ever been for budget cuts for our valley. I've been in Santa Clarita for over 21 years and never seen the likes of this."

Teachers plan to be at the following intersections Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.:

n Hasley Canyon Road and The Old Road
n Newhall Ranch Road and Copper Hill Drive
n The Old Road and McBean Parkway
n Orchard Village Road and Lyons Avenue
n McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard
n Newhall Ranch Road and Bouquet Canyon Road
n Soledad Canyon Road and Valencia Boulevard
n Whites Canyon Road and Soledad Canyon Road
n Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway

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