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Teachers rally against cuts

Fair Oaks Ranch Community School educators organize protest at school to stop cuts

Posted: April 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Fair Oaks Ranch Community School teacher Danielle Paroda hands out literature explaining buget cuts at the school to parents picking up their kids in Canyon Country on Friday. About one-third of the school’s 34 teachers received preliminary layoff notices.

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DeleteWith the looming threat of teacher layoffs and increased class sizes, educators across the Sulphur Springs School District on Friday rallied against proposed budget cuts, hoping to put an end to public education’s financial crisis.

At Fair Oaks Ranch Community School, teachers in red shirts lined the residential streets surrounding the Canyon Country school to pass out pink fliers to parents as they picked up their children after school.

Out of the 34 teachers at the elementary school, about one-third have received preliminary layoff notices, sixth-grader teacher Ken Newton said. Final layoff notices will be delivered in May.

“It’s catastrophic,” he said, while holding the sign, “Children are our future. No more cuts to education.”

The Sulphur Springs Teachers Association organized Friday’s rally at all nine of its elementary schools as a way to inform parents and encourage them to contact state leaders and voice support for education funding.

Under the two scenarios presented by the state, school districts could lose $349 a student or $800 a student, Newton said. For Sulphur Springs, which has nearly 6,000 students, the $800 loss would amount to a 20 percent cut per student, he said.

“I call it the doomsday scenario,” Newton said. “It will be absolutely devastating.”

Along with increasing class sizes again, Fair Oaks could lose its music program, computer lab, assistant principal and school library if public education loses money this year.

“It would mean an end to what we know a school day to be,” Newton said.

Joining the rally was sixth-grade teacher Sarah Peña, who has received a preliminary pink slip three out of the four years she’s taught within the Sulphur Springs School District.

Since the district has not been hiring any new teachers, Peña remains at the bottom of the seniority list year after year.
With the exception of state-mandated positions, teachers are laid off by seniority.

“There are so many good teachers in our district, and it’d be sad for the kids to lose out on them,” Peña said.

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