State Senator Curren Price “Walks a Day in the Shoes” of School Cafeteria Worker to Experience Impact of Budget Cuts


Terry Carter, Spokesperson
213-700-5617 |
Friday, March 26, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA — Los Angeles Unified School District classified employees, including Fremont High School cafeteria worker Linda Benton, 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 26, Senator Curren Price rolled up his sleeves and worked with Linda preparing food, serving faculty, washing dishes, and cleaning lunchrooms at Fremont High.

The kitchen at Fremont has historically been shorthanded. After finally becoming fully-staffed last year, they’re down three people again due to budget cuts. “I’ve been here at Fremont for 16 years,” explains Linda. “With the cuts and furloughs, the work is hard. Yesterday I had to run back and forth between washing dishes and running the faculty lunch counter.”

Linda and other District cafeteria staff are asking legislators to make a commitment to better education funding, including funding for good school food that children need to be successful—and the good jobs necessary to provide that food. Massive state budget cuts have forced the Los Angeles Unified School District to eliminate nearly 200 food service positions over the past two years. To close its estimated $640 million budget gap for 2010, LAUSD is considering cutting another 2,000 cafeteria, custodial, and other support staff. Furthermore, the Governor’s recent budget proposal cuts nearly $2.5 billion more from our schools, which could force further District cuts.

“As a proud product of schools in the Los Angeles and Inglewood Unified School Districts, I know how important support staff is to the full development of students in California public schools,” says Price. “Some days, my best meals were served with culinary skill and love by the hard working cafeteria staff. I am very concerned that more than 200 cafeteria workers have been laid off in the past two years. I don’t want any of them to think that I have forgotten them. I am proud to walk in the shoes of cafeteria worker, Linda Benton, for a day to see what issues she is facing and how we at the Legislature can help.”

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.

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