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Placer county teachers take a stand

By: Melody Stone, Journal staff writer
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Weimar teachers lined the school parking lot. They handed out pink fliers outlining the cuts the school is facing. The scene in front of Weimar Hills School on Thursday morning resembled schools across the state participating in “Stand Up For Schools” demonstrations. Some teachers dressed in pink to represent their pink slips, while others dressed in red to show support for the targeted teachers and programs. Weimar Hills lost 10 teachers last year and is looking at further cuts, lay-offs and the elimination of the electives rotation. Suzanne Scotten is an eighth grade English teacher who wore pink Thursday. “This is about California and our children,” Scotten said. She has worked for the Placer Hill Union School District for four years, been teaching for 10 and has received two pink slips. Last year her job was saved, but she’s worried. She said without quality education the students won’t grow into citizens capable of bringing the country into prosperity again. The school district gave out 23 pink slips in total and Superintendent Fred H. Adam isn’t happy about the situation. He said hopefully they won’t layoff everyone who received pink slips but until they know for sure how much money is coming in from the state, they need to be prepared for every possible situation. “My perspective is California is destroying the quality public education system,” Adam said Thursday morning. “I think every parent, grandparent and student should be upset about what’s happen in education.” Aslyn Hicks, a seventh grader at Weimar Hills, cringed at the thought of no electives and larger class sizes next year. She said she thinks the cuts will be difficult on her. “I want at least one fun class,” Hicks said. “That freaks me out a little. Kids won’t have their questions answered.” Schools in Grass Valley, Folsom and surrounding areas also participated in the “Stand Up for Schools” demonstration. Schools, colleges and universities held walkouts and mock-funerals for the programs slotted for elimination and teachers facing possible layoffs. Fourth District Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, said these drastic times were brought on by fiscal mismanagement and over-spending. He hopes to pass legislation to prevent this sort of crisis in the future by limiting spending. Gaines said for now the cuts are unavoidable. “All the choices are bad choices,” Gaines said in a phone interview Thursday. Placer County Superintendent Gayle Garbolino-Mojica said schools are looking at the third or fourth years of revenue reductions and there isn’t anymore fat to trim. “I haven’t seen it this bad before,” Garbolino-Mojica said. Sidebar: Statewide education reductions over the past two years · 16,000 educators were laid off · Some art, music and physical education programs completely eliminated · Tuition fees increase more than 30 percent at colleges and universities Possible reductions to the Placer Hills Union School District going into the 2010-2011 school year · Class sizes will increase to 37 students · Elective programs eliminated · Elimination of aides for computers, science and library · Loss of small group instruction and reading programs · Loss of a principal · 23 teachers received pink slips · The district is facing a $500,000 decrease in revenue Melody Stone can be reached at melodys@goldcounrtymedia.com