FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Blanca Gallegos, Communications Director
213.387.8393 x219 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, March 12, 2010
VAN NUYS, CA — Los Angeles Unified School District classified employees, including Fulton College Preparatory Bathroom Facilities Attendant Rafaela Burciaga, want to make sure legislators understand the importance of their contribution to good public schools and how state budget cuts are impacting students and workers. On Friday, March 12, Senator Alex Padilla rolled up his sleeves and worked with Rafaela cleaning bathrooms, mopping, sweeping and throwing out trash at the Van Nuys campus.
At Fulton College Preparatory two custodians and one bathroom attendant have been cut in the last school year. Rafaela is the only attendant maintaining 20 bathrooms for 1700 students during the school day. “I’m all by myself,” said Rafaela. “It’s difficult for one person to keep all the restrooms clean and stocked for so many students,” said Rafaela.
Rafaela and other District custodians are asking legislators to make a commitment to better education funding, including funding for clean, safe, and sanitary campuses that children need to be successful—and the good jobs necessary to provide that cleanliness. Massive state budget cuts have forced the Los Angeles Unified School District to eliminate 650 building and grounds positions this school year. To close its estimated $640 million budget gap for 2010, LAUSD is considering cutting another 2000 janitors, maintenance workers and other service staff. Furthermore, the Governor’s recent budget proposal cuts nearly $2.5 billion more from our schools, which could force further District cuts.
“I know firsthand the value of strong public schools, because they gave me the foundation to succeed, “ said Senator Padilla. “And growing up in a labor household, I saw how important the fight for fair wages and benefits can be to working families.”
This is part of a series of “Walk a Day in My Shoes” events inviting state legislators and candidates to learn firsthand the impact of budget cuts on student services and classified employees.
SEIU Local 99 is a union of more than 43,000 dedicated education workers who guide our children from preschool and kindergarten, through grade school, high school, and at community colleges. We are teachers, paraeducators, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, first responders, and others working in schools, colleges, and administrative offices throughout Southern California. We are part of SEIU International, the fastest-growing union in North America with 2.1 million members.