By Theresa Harrington
Parents, students, educators and community members plan to gather at College Park High School at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 15 to rally for education funding.
Speakers will include St. Mary’s basketball star Omar Samhan, Survivor veteran Yau-man Chan, DVC President Judy Walters, state legislators from Contra Costa County, state PTA President Jo Loss, county Teacher of the Year Joelle Marchese and county Superintendent of Schools Joe Ovick.
Districts throughout the county are facing massive budget cuts resulting in large numbers of pink-slipped teachers. In the Mt. Diablo district, about 422 teachers and other credentialed employees received preliminary layoff notices. Another 55 temporary teachers were told they may not be rehired.
College Park librarian Kit Hein spoke at Tuesday’s board meeting to mark National Library Week and invited trustees to attend the rally. She was one of five district librarians who received a pink slip, but she told me today she has learned that it will be rescinded.
The board has agreed to slash $229,712 a year by cutting 3.6 librarian positions starting in the fall. This likely means high school libraries will be closed three days a week and middle school libraries will be closed four days a week, Hein said.
“It doesn’t really make sense to any of us because we teach, we collaborate with teachers,” said Hein, who has worked in the district since 2006.
She currently works at College Park three days a week and at Riverview Middle School in Bay Point two days a week.
“It’s crazy,” she said. “There’s no consistency and then the teachers forget when I’m here.”
If the budget gets worse, she fears libraries could close altogether. Other librarians who received pink slips were Raychael Knighten, Ryann Brooks, Ruth Shumate and Barbara Torrres.
Layoffs are determined by seniority and credentials. The district will hold administrative hearings from 1-6 p.m. April 27-29 at the Willow Creek Center in Concord to sort out credential and seniority questions before final pink slips are sent out in May.
A complete list of teachers and other credentialed employees who received preliminary pink slips is on the district’s Web site in a legal document about the hearings, exhibits A and B, at http://www.mdusd.org/NewsRoom/Documents/certlayoffinfo.pdf.
Hein said she hopes the rally helps raise awareness about how budget cuts are affecting schools.
“I’m kind of excited,” she said. “I hope lots of people show up and it hits the news so that people in Sacramento wake up. I think our local legislators are pretty supportive, but I don’t know what they do when they go up there behind closed doors.”
The high school is at 201 Viking Drive in Pleasant Hill, across the street from Diablo Valley College. More information is at www.32ndpta.org.
Do you think rallies like this make a difference?
By Theresa Harrington