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March 10th, 2010 by Temple City Tribune
Class Sizes to Increase & Teacher Lay Offs Planned
By Susan Motander
Last Thursday the California Teachers Association called for a Day of Action to protest cuts to educational funding. In response the Monrovia Teachers Association held a meeting at Clifton Middle School. But the tone was neither stident nor confrontational.
Ann Battle, president of the MTA set the tone for the meeting by opening it saying, “In Monrovia, it s day of education.” To that end there were not just teachers in attendance, but also a large number of administrators (including the superintendent of schools), classified employees, parents and member of the Monrovia Schools Foundation (MSF). Superintendent Dr. Linda Wagner first thanked everyone for “this day of unification.”
More than anything else it was an information exchange for all those involved. Parents and teachers were able to ask questions regarding class size, the potential of a school closure and teacher layoffs.
The MSF was able to explain some of its plans to assist the district.
Wagner praised the work of many volunteers, the help of the MSF and lobbying efforts in Sacramento, but explained “We’ll still have a gigantic short fall.” Among the cost cutting efforts she outlined were the increase of class sizes in the elementary schools from 25 students to 30 and the four furlough days planned.
“Things are bad, but the positive thing is we are working together,” Wagner said.
In support of that John Wilson, the president of the MSF, a group dedicated to raising funds to assist the school district spoke of several small plans the group already has underway including an upcoming 5K fun run planned for May 22, and their escrip program available through various supermarkets.
“We deeply care about you,” Wilson said. “We want the best teachers available.”
Of deep concern to many was the possiblity of closing one of the elementary schools. Wagner explained that it had “been on the docket for some time,” but that it was very difficult to close a school. “We are not considering it a viable option for next year,” she said.
Of greater likelihood was the sharing of school principals, secretaries and custodians. The district has already laid off one Assistant Superintendent. Notices have been sent to approximately 100 teachers indicating that they may be laid off. Associate Superintendent for Human Resources, Debbie Collins said that it was more likely that there would be only 16 teachers laid off at the end of this school year and that “probably 15 will be elementary school teachers.” She acknowledged that some of the teachers who would be laid off had been with the district as long as 8 to 9 school years.