School Budget Cuts Draw Protests in Madera

Madera, California Student Rogelio Loya said it's not fair to cut adult school because the students are all there to better their lives. "Take away adult school takes away the hopes and dreams of people who actually want to learn." He said.

Because of protests the district has decided against shutting down the school, but district spokesman Jake Bragonier said the school board will instead consider a huge budget cut to the program. He said, "Right now it's just sort of a plan to reduce the Adult School overall budget from 2-million-dollars to right around $600.000."

Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell said the drop in state revenues and major reductions in property taxes because of declining home values, is forcing big cuts in educational programs throughout the Central Valley. "There are very few districts that aren't going to experience some kind of difficulty because the budget is so difficult right now. I've never seen it this bad and this is my 40th year in education. And there's no hope at the end of the tunnel." Powell said.

Powell foresees increases in class sizes, teacher and staff layoffs, and reductions in extracurricular activities and cuts in transportation. Madera Education Association President Babette Jair said public protests are needed statewide to persuade districts to make their cuts in the administration buildings, not the classrooms.

"The message is you need to keep the cuts away from the children and you need to keep the cuts away from the jobs that have the most influence with the children." Jair said.

The proposed cuts in Madera go before the school board at next week's meeting.

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