"Pink Slip Friday" Protests

March 14, 2009 12:22:04 AM PDT
California educators dubbed Friday "Pink Slip Friday" because 14,000 teachers all around the state got one. This enormous budget cut to education is hitting some communities harder than others but everyone who rallied today agreed in the long run society as a whole will suffer because of it. Ricky Nelson protested with fellow members of Acorn, a community action group. He said, "We're out here to say enough is enough." Valley teachers and other school employees took their lessons outside the classroom today. The dress code was anything pink. The assignment, a protest against Governor Schwarzenegger's massive $11 billion dollar cut to education. One teacher said, "He's cutting our legs out from under us by doing this."

Madera Unified is feeling the biggest blow in the Valley. 190 employees got that dreaded pink slip Friday and most of them were teachers. Fifth grade teacher Christine Tatro was one of them. She said, "What do I do now? I mean, I went to school to be a teacher. That was my only goal in life. Now I have no idea what to do because no one else is hiring."

Sue Thornton, President of Fresno-Madera Teacher's Association said, "Our district is being ultra conservative. They're worried about what could happen between now and June 8th and they're concerned the economy could get worse between now and then. They're kinda doing worse case scenario."

Several other Valley school districts also felt the squeeze on this "Pink Slip Friday". Central Unified issued 125 layoff notices, while Visalia Unified sent out 71. Last week Mariposa Unified voted to shut down the county's only middle school. Fresno and Clovis Unified report they haven't issued any layoff notices to permanent or temporary teachers.

Tatro said, "If everyone on top took a pay cut it would be great to save some teachers." Nelson said, "We're investing in the automotive industry, the banking industry but for some reason our schools aren't getting the resources they need to sustain itself."

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