Desert Sands Teachers Facing Layoffs
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
Teachers at the valley's largest school district are facing layoffs once again.
Desert Sands Unified School District is looking at cutting 27 positions at our local schools: mostly teachers, and two administrators.
And after the passage of Prop 30 that increased taxes to fund education, teachers want to know why more cuts.
The evening began by celebrating students from our local schools, but teachers waited in the audience, worried about their jobs.
"It is very frustrating when we also see that districts, two other districts within the Coachella Valley, teachers are making more than we are," said special education teacher at Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School, Laura Alcorn.
Desert Sands Unified says they are looking at cuts the other districts are not because of rising benefits costs.
These cuts close a 1.2 million dollar budget shortfall.
"I'm hopeful that with more budget news, with concessions at the table, with whatever we can do with retirements, teacher retirements, our folks that are temporary teachers, we can bring these folks back," said Desert Sands Assistant Superintendent of Personnel, Sherry Johnstone.
The teacher's association says they can't afford anymore cuts with 1,200 teachers for more than 29,000 students.
"Five years ago, we were at 1,400 so each year more and more cuts, and our class sizes have gotten larger and larger which means that the teachers are being asked repeatedly to do more and more with less and less," said Desert Sands Teacher's Association President, Mona Davidson.
Prop 30 passed last fall, leaving teachers wondering why more cuts.
"So now we're saying okay, you were spared 12 million dollars in cuts, so it's time to feel the love," said Davidson.
But the district says Prop 30 helped them avoid drastic cuts that would have happened this year.
"But what it's done is restored us to below the 2007/2008 budget amount, that's far too less to run a district with growing costs," said Johnstone.
And with growing classrooms, teacher Laura Alcorn hopes for compromise.
"I would like to see that we can come together as a board and as a union, those of us as teachers, that we can compromise and not always look at furlough days, but look at something that will benefit all of us," said Alcorn.
The board voted 3 to 2 to approve the layoff notices.
These are preliminary layoff notices, after bargaining the final layoff notice is May 15th.