Monday, 17 June 2024

Community called on to stand up for schools Friday

LAKEPORT – This Friday is the last day that many school districts have to hand out pink slips to teachers whose jobs are in jeopardy due to budget cuts, and an event planned for that day will focus attention on the challenges facing education here and across the state. {sidebar id=132}


The “Stand Up for Schools” event will take place from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday, March 13, in the courthouse square on Main Street in downtown Lakeport.


Local California Teachers Association (CTA) members will protest the education funding cuts as part of “Pink Friday.”


Teachers, staff, students, parents, school board trustees and community members from Kelseyville, Lakeport and Upper Lake are expected to appear, clad in pink, to hear presentations by Lake County Superintendent of Schools David Geck and CTA board member Larry Allen of Cobb. The Lakeport protest will feature free pink prizes and pink treats such as cotton candy for anyone wearing pink.


At a March 5 meeting, Lakeport Unified School District Board President Tom Powers promised, “I'm going to be in bright pink, which you may not want to see.”


Powers and fellow school board members voted unanimously to support this Friday's Stand Up for Schools Day.


Lake County News conducted a survey of all local school districts this week, and counted approximately 110.3 classified and certificated positions – both full and part-time – that have received layoff notices so far this year.


Those are among the estimated 17,800 of the state’s 340,000 associated teachers who CTA said have been scheduled to receive “pink slips” this month.


During the event CTA members and educators will explain how California’s $11.6 billion in budget cuts will affect K-12 public education both locally and statewide.


Geck told Lake County News in a recent interview that he estimates local school districts will see a total of about $5.7 million in cuts for the rest of this budget year and into the 2009-10 fiscal year.


Pam Klier, president of the Lakeport CTA chapter, said the concern is the impact the cuts ultimately will have on education.


“These are not cuts that anybody's making willingly,” she said. “They're deep, drastic cuts that are really going to change, in some cases, the way we are able to do our jobs.”


It's not just teachers facing loss of their jobs or resources to teach their students. Klier said supporting classified staff also is getting hit hard.


She said the goal is to educate all of the community about what's happening to education, and how important it is to contact state legislators to let them know that education needs to be a priority.

 

The call to put the pressure on Sacramento has been a uniting message for teachers, school board members and administrators.


Last week, Konocti Unified School District Board Clerk Anita Gordon told a meeting filled with concerned parents and community members that the district was facing $1.2 million in budget cuts and challenges, in part, due to decisions made in Sacramento.


Also last week, Lakeport Unified Superintendent Erin Smith-Hagberg told those attending a meeting on Lakeport's efforts to meet a total of $800,000 in lost revenue, “We just need you to speak up on behalf of your schools,” asking that they call or write legislators.


Lakeport Unified School District Board member Bob Weiss also called on the community to come out and support teachers and education at the March 13 event. He pointed to Sacramento as the root of local education's struggles.


He said everyone in the community needs to support education. “We're in this together.”


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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