A total of 96 educators are at risk of losing their jobs at the Coachella Valley Unified School District, a loss that not only worries teachers, but also their students and their parents.
Carissa Carrera, is the president of the Coachella Valley Teachers Association. She said they had a feeling layoffs were coming after a letter from the district projected a $10.4 million deficit for the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year.
Carrera said, "Everybody kind of knew, we just didn’t know how many."
But she said the unanimous vote by the CVUSB Board of Trustees to preliminary layoff 96 teachers was excessive.
"Now they are covering their basis and over-RIFing that’s most definitely with 96 teachers," Carrera said. "Over-RIFing to make sure that they can have some wiggle room, and so between now and may 15 they will finalize literally where they need the cuts for sure."
Carrera referring to reduction-in-force (RIF), letting go of an employee due to lack of funds, but Carrera said it is possible the cuts will be less than 96. She said the district still needs to take retirees and resignations into consideration.
But the news of possible layoffs has local parents concerned. Anahi Angel has four children enrolled at CVUSD schools, and she worries her son’s education will be affected by the layoffs.
Angel said, "It’s not right, because we are in the time where we really need the help from the teachers, and it is important our kids get their education."
William Sitchler, is also a parent with children at Coachella schools, he said, "You cut 100 more, you’re just going to have teachers babysitting kids, because they can’t teach you cannot expect them to do that."
However, CVUSD Assistant Superintendent, Maria Gandera, said they will honor their student to teacher ratio agreement. She said fourth grade to eighth grade the ratio is 30 students per one teacher, while high school classrooms will keep 32 students to one educator.
But until the final decision is made, teachers at CVUSD will have to keep calm and teach on.
"Our teachers do a wonderful job of keeping this as much as they can out of the classroom," Carrera said. "Because you know it affects them emotionally, but they still go everyday and do their job."
Through email, the CVUSD Assistant Superintendent, Maria Gandera, said they continue to review all areas of the budget, and they will have a final decision in May.