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Teachers protest proposed education cuts

April 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A group of teachers set out from downtown Los Angeles in a yellow school bus Monday morning on a six-week statewide tour to protest Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger's proposal to cut nearly $5 billion from education.The first stop on the so-called "Cuts Hurt" bus tour was Monroe Middle School in Inglewood. If the governor's cuts are approved the Inglewood Unified School District could lose a third of its staff.

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The clock is ticking for Jamie Smith and 16 of her fellow teachers at Monroe Middle School. The end of the school year may be the end of her job due to deep proposed cuts of $4.8 billion to public education.

"The prospect of not having a job in June is definitely something that upsets me. I've created really strong bonds with my students since I've been here in October and it's been a long road. I have the same kids all day, every day," said Smith.

Statewide 14,000 teachers have received pink slips. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says the state's $16 billion deficit is forcing him to take such drastic measures. But opponents say there has to be a better way.

"The governor promised that this would be the year of education. Well, what we thought that meant and what he thought that meant are apparently two very different things," said David Sanchez, President of the California Teachers Association.

The California Teachers Association has launched a "Cuts Hurt" bus tour, taking its message across the state.

Officials say theses are the largest proposed cuts in state history and they come at a time when California is already struggling with school funding.

"Kids do deserve better and as hard as they're trying it's not the teachers fault that the, whoever's budgeting the money didn't do it right," said Niecy McBride, a parent.

The CTA says the proposed cuts would have devastating affects. At Monroe Middle School it will mean crowded classrooms and cuts to art and music classes.

Many parents say they're angry the governor is going back on his promise.

"His statements that he made when he, to get elected was all for the, you know, the kids and education. And now he's turning his back on the teachers and that's not right," said Duane McGee, a parent.

With California ranking 46 out of 50 states in funding, the CTA says that state can't keep talking about cuts, but must find new ways of coming up with revenue for education.

The six-week long "Cuts Hurt" bus tour will be making ten stops across the state, winding up in Sacramento in May.

 

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