County schools join protests against state education cuts
School employees hope wearing red will sound alarms about the painful cuts state legislators have made to public education in the past two years.
Nevada City School District is among California districts participating in Thursday’s “Start the Day for Students,” an initiative backed by the statewide teachers’ union, California Teachers Association (CTA).
District employees will wear red, pass out informational fliers and encourage community members to contact state lawmakers to urge the end of budget cuts for schools.
“The most powerful thing you can do is write to legislators,” said Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Holly Hermansen. “Those are the people making the decisions.”
Elsewhere around the state, protests are in the works. An Elk Grove school is hosting a mock funeral for programs on the financial chopping block. San Jose teachers are hosting a breakfast tailgate party and urging attendees to wear black. A Georgetown school district is forming a human chain in front of each school site, according to the CTA Web site.
Nevada City organizers said “Start the Day” is an effort for school employees and community residents “to be united against the state budget cuts and to tell our lawmakers that the ongoing budget cuts must stop.”
The CTA’s recommendation is to close loopholes, which they say provided $2 billion in tax breaks for corporations and oil companies last year.
“We shouldn’t punish our students for the budget crisis – they didn’t create it,” CTA President David Sanchez told The Union. “There are large corporations out there getting huge tax breaks. Teachers are being cut and those businesses are definitely not paying their fair share.”
At the urging of the CTA, local teacher unions have resisted taking furlough days or pay cuts to help close budget shortfalls, even if it means younger teachers getting laid off. In Nevada County, the Nevada Joint Union High School District is negotiating furlough days with the union, and furlough days were to be discussed in the Nevada City district.
In local districts, payroll makes up at least three-quarters of district budgets, in some districts reaching to 90 percent of expenses.
Staff Writer Kyle Magin contributed to this report. To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail email@example.com or call (530) 477-4247.
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