Updated with photos of the protest, a link to a KTLA video and a clarification on the number of days the hearings have been going on.
Their exasperation mounting, a group of Belmont Shore and Belmont Heights parents have been meeting and texting for weeks about the state budget impasse and where it leaves their kids.
Long Beach Unified, the state's third largest district, had cut $170 million during the past few years under the last governor. It has said it's now facing another $155 million in cuts this year if the new governor's budget isn't passed. With 86,000 students and 8,000 employees, Long Beach Unified will feel the state's budget choke in daily life. Teachers make up the majority of the city's largest workforce of 8,000 LBUSD employees.
Not necessarily longtime collaborators in the trenches, the parents say they have found themselves joined in fury and frustration with how to voice what they want out of elected leaders. As individuals they have attended school board meetings, their city council forums, and PTA meetings all school year. But still there is the question of how to do anything that matters and reach those who would impact their children’s future.
In their first strike, the group launched an e-mail and Facebook effort early Sunday to rally their anger in a show of support happening right in their neighborhood: the fifth day of teacher layoff hearings. More than 1,200 layoff notices have been sent by LBUSD, which has been forced into devastating cuts that have already added more students per classroom at every grade level.
This letter was sent to Patch.com:
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
This is an urgent message for all of you in Long Beach who care about our children, our schools and our teachers. We are at a crossroads. We are going to lose many, many teachers due to budget woes, poor planning, a lack of forethought, and just plain madness!! We are not going to take this sitting down. We are getting up Monday morning April 11th and marching over to Wilson High School to protest the layoffs of some of our most talented and amazing teachers.
We are bringing our children, our frustration, our handmade signs, and our attitude! We want to show the union, the district, California lawmakers, and the teachers that we do not agree with the decisions that are being made. We are not going to let the people who work every day to give our children the education they deserve fight alone for their future in their chosen profession. We stand with them, and we will not stand quietly aside as they are laid off by the hundreds with little more than an unemployment packet as thanks for all of their years of service.
- We will meet between 8 am and 8:15 by the Recreation Park Community Center parking lot (near Park and 7th street). Bring signs and wear mourning/black clothes if you like.
- We will march to Wilson where the layoff hearings are being held to show our support to the teachers and our frustration and anger to the powers that be.
- Come with us; let’s show our children that they and their education are worth fighting for!
Families, parents, neighbors, grandparents, the more people, the more power! Please forward to any concerned parents on your email list, thanks.