Parents, Students Concerned Amid Mass Teacher Layoffs

More than 60 educators in El Monte received pink slips, prompting protests

By Chloe Stepney
|  Thursday, Mar 7, 2013  |  Updated 5:28 PM PDT
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Parents, Students Concerned Amid Mass Teacher Layoffs

Protestors gather at the El Monte Union High School District Office on March 6, 2013.

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Teachers, guidance counselors and other school staff members in several Southern California school districts have been notified of layoffs this week due to budget cuts and revenue uncertainty.

More than 24 teachers in the Manhattan Beach High School Unified School District will receive layoff notices next week.

“We will be looking for ways to reduce spending or increase revenues so we can rescind those layoffs,” Superintendent Mike Matthews said after the school board passed the layoff action Wednesday night.

In the El Monte Union High School District, more than 60 educators received pink slips, prompting protestors to gather on sidewalks and inside the board room of an EMUHSD meeting Wednesday.

“Educate, not edu-cut. Educate, not edu-cut,” demonstrators chanted.

El Monte faces a budget deficit of about $5.5 million, but Superintendent Nick Salerno said the new budget could bring “good news” to those being laid off.

“Probably by the end of March, we’ll be able to rescind some of these. When we get the budget in June, if we get good news, we’ll be able to rescind some more,” Salerno said.

An online petition protesting El Monte layoffs has gained more than 1,200 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.

In Pomona, the Board of Education authorized an action to lay off 108 certificated employees in the district, including elementary and secondary school teachers and specialists, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Educators are also facing layoffs in the Azusa Unified School District, which is preparing to lay off more than 30 teachers.

“The challenge all districts are facing are these people that are being noticed are people who have been here for quite some time,” AUSD Superintendent Linda Kaminski said.

Azusa has seen declining enrollment, which is partially responsible for the layoffs, Kaminski said.

“I’ve seen this play out year after year, and it’s just a travesty,” she said.

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