FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Terry Carter, Spokesperson
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Blanca Gallegos, Communications Director
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School Workers Endorse Cady and Lieberman
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Today, on what should have been their first day back to school after summer break, students, parents, and classified workers including custodians, cafeteria workers, special education assistants, bus drivers, and others rallied outside the closed doors of Virgil Middle School. Their criticism was aimed at Sacramento’s continuing budget cuts that forced the Los Angeles Unified School District to reduce the school year and delay “Back-to-School” day.
To meet the budget shortfalls created by the massive cuts to state education funding, school districts throughout Los Angeles County continue to lay off employees, cut programs, and implement unpaid furlough days. The Los Angeles Unified School District is looking at a deficit of $640 million in the 10-11 school year. To close this gap, the District shortened the school year by seven days, with an additional floating furlough day for staff. Even with this shortened year, District officials say they’ll be forced to lay off thousands of employees to close their budget gap. Other School Districts, including Lynwood and Torrance Unified have moved to furlough days as a way to meet the budget shortfalls.
“Someday I want to study engineering,” said Salvador Jimenez, who excels in math and will begin 7th grade at Barrack Obama Global Preparation Academy. “I want to work for NASA and build a spaceship. To get where I’m going, I’ll have to do great on every test. I already feel like we sometimes take tests after only getting half a lesson. Cutting the school year could hurt my chances.”
“Last year, my daughter and her friends in middle school rushed through lessons to be ready for the next test. Their school year was a blur. Cutting seven days from the school year is going to really challenge her ability to do well,” said Theresa Aguilar, a night custodian at Bell High School. “And they’re talking about even more cuts to our custodial staff. I’m concerned that we’re not able to sweep enough for our asthmatic students or sanitize frequently enough during flu season. Sick kids miss even more days of school. How are students supposed to learn?”
Participants want to see a common sense budget that looks to the future of California. Instead, Sacramento is abandoning a generation as it puts tax breaks for the rich and big corporations before our children.
“Sacramento has cut $17 billion from education over the past two years, and they’re threatening to cut even more. This is a step backward and it jeopardizes our students’ dreams,” said LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia, who joined the rally. “To continue to be a world class economy, California must invest in the education of our children.”
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.