Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: Save the education system

I am a recent pink slip victim of the Paso Robles Unified School District and am writing this letter in regard to the article April 28 about the classified cuts made recently (“Paso schools send bad news to 69 employees”).

I have been an English teacher in the Paso Robles district for five years and was tenured two years ago, although I am not sure what that means anymore.

The Tribune article said: “The school board has been reluctant to ask for an $8-a-month parcel tax to help the cause, suggesting teachers and classified staff take voluntary furloughs that would save the district money. Administrators have taken furloughs, but unions for teachers and hourly workers have resisted.”

I was in favor of taking furloughs and know there were other teachers willing to do so for the sake of our students and other teachers’ jobs. However, the school district could not promise the money from the furloughs would be used to save teachers. The union was adamant about no furloughs; not all teachers felt that way.

At this time, the school cannot buy printer ink for the printer in my classroom. We received an e-mail notifying us teachers that we would not be able to replace any bulbs in our electronic equipment. I don’t think some parents understand how severe our school district’s situation is at this time and will continue to be until the school can generate money from the community.

I am not sure what cuts were made at the school board level, which could have saved the district some money. Instead, I (and numerous others) am filling out résumés and applications every - day because I have two children to raise and they come first.

It is hard going back, every day, to a job that has “let you go” and gives you a letter telling you the date when your family’s health insurance will be cut off. This is not just a district problem. This is a state, county, district and community problem that needs all sides to join forces and save the education system.

Next year could very will be “crowd control” for those teachers who have a proposed 35-plus students in their classes. Someone needs to step up, or our kids are going to take another step down.

Melissa Wills is an English teacher at Flamson Middle School.