From protests on sidewalks to crowds inside board meetings, the proposal to lay off more than 60 El Monte educators has drawn widespread, passionate support.
"Educate not edu-cut. Educate not edu-cut!" demonstrators chanted on Wednesday outside of a meeting being held by the El Monte Union High School District.
The district employs 623 certified employees, according to its websites. These cuts would slash those resources by 10 percent.
And the El Monte teachers are not alone.
More than 24 educators in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District will receive layoff notices next week.
The jobs of 32 teachers in Azusa and 81 in Pasadena are also on the chopping block ahead of the state-regulated March 15 deadline to send pink slips to public employees.
El Monte English teacher Julie Beltran – a pink-slipped head of household – is one of 62 teachers facing unemployment in an attempt for the district to balance a budget that has been slashed some $65 million during the past five years.
"We're here to protest to try and get as many if the cuts outside of the classroom as possible," Beltran said. "We really need our teachers."
The district blamed budget cuts and revenue uncertainty for the dismissals.
"We have to do our job to keep our district solvent," said Nick Salerno, superintendent of El Monte UHSD.
Guidance counselor Ilbea Fedele said as an educator, it’s almost impossible to plan ahead for what has become commonplace layoffs and widespread budget cuts.
"You can prepare as much as you can but the climate for education in California is so negative. Where do you go from here?" said Ilbea Fedele, guidance counselor.
Salerno said perceptions might improve if people understood the process, adding that “good news” in the June budget could be great news for pink-slipped teachers.
"Probably by the end of March we'll be able to rescind some of these," he said. "When we get the budget in June, if we get good news, we'll be able to rescind some more."
Teachers also demonstrated against the layoffs on March 1, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.