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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

School District Budget Crisis

Another contentious meeting:
Teacher Lay-Offs at Center Of Looming Budget Shortfall

The Emery School Board was inundated again last night with parents, teachers and citizens demanding that budget cuts not come in the form of teacher lay-offs.

It was all budget talks at an overfilled Emery Theater that featured Alameda County School Superintendent Sheila Jordan advising the Board how it could engage in arcane money shifting tactics to stop the 'short horizon' cash hemorrhaging brought on by funding loss due to plunging student enrollment among other reasons.  In addition to laying off teachers, the Board indicated that the School District is facing a looming $1.6 million shortfall beginning next year.  The loss of income from the falling enrollments the District was highlighted as a major contributing factor in the budget crisis as was the fact that the District has stopped collecting money it had gathered by renting out Emery's Ralph Hawley Middle School to Piedmont Unified School District for two years, softening the ill effects of the ongoing cuts coming from Sacramento.

Some 14 people spoke, mostly imploring Board members to not cut the budget at the expense of the actual classrooms by laying off teachers.  Executives from the Emeryville based alternative bio-fuels company, Amyris spoke on behalf of a science teacher they have mentored that has received a pink slip from the District, one of several.

School Board member Josh Simon said the Board is ready to listen to the citizen's ideas for balancing the budget, "We're looking forward to the creativity of the community" he said.

Last night's crowd at the regularly scheduled School Board meeting came on the heels of the March 12th meeting, which also drew an angry crowd of parents, teachers, et al.


  1. Lower enrollment means less teachers.
    Get the enrollment up, the teachers can keep their jobs. Seems pretty cut and dried to me.

    Frankly, the district could stand to lose a couple teachers, trim the fat, as it were.

    1. Fire a few teachers...lower the teacher/student ratio....trim the fat...that's one way to look at it.
      Another way is to realize there are too few teachers right now (and they're not paid enough). Remember, it's teachers that are in the trenches. Other than parenting, it's teachers that make the difference in student learning. If there's any fat at Emery, I'd say it's in our top heavy administration with it's endless hiring of consulting firms.

  2. Just saw on the news this morning Emeryville wants to lease the Santa Fe School from Oakland. What's up with that? When will they learn, it's not the buildings, it's the teachers?