Teachers lose jobs due to budget crisis

Teachers lose jobs due to budget crisis

At least two teachers and the campus manager at Fremont Federation of High Schools have lost their jobs for next year due to severe budget cuts.

The two teachers, who did not wish to be named, are employed by Media Academy. One teaches English and the other teaches math.

Teryl McGriff, the campus manager, also received notice that she will not have a job next year. Among her duties, McGriff makes sure the facilities are secure and clean by supervising the custodial and security staff.

Not all schools released information to the Green & Gold about staffing cuts, but some teachers report that they may see staff cut if enrollment figures are not high enough.

The reason for the cuts is that the Oakland Unified School District has to balance its budget by cutting $30 million in spending. Decreasing enrollment also is taking a toll.

Media Academy is projected to have 30 fewer students next year. Each student brings in about $4,500 a year to the school.

Media Academy Principal Benjamin Schmookler was forced to cut more than $300,000 from the school’s budget. The only way he could do that was to cut programs and teachers from Media Academy.

“We [Media Academy] so broke, it’s like [it’s] the 30th and we don’t get paid until the first,” said Schmookler.

Schmookler said he is also cutting remedial math and English classes that were added this school year to help students with the lowest achievement levels. He is cutting an Algebra strategies class and read 180.

“We are cutting programs to pay for teachers’ salaries,” said Schmookler.

 The magazine class, which publishes Tiger Talk, also has been cut. Schmookler also said that field trips will fewer and class sizes will be bigger.

Students are disappointed to hear about the cuts and some think the consequences will be serious.

“Teachers getting cut means [fewer] students learning and more out on the streets,” said Johnny Nhem, a sophomore at Media Academy.”

McGriff, the campus manager, said she did not think the elimination of her position would affect the campus too badly. She said she was out for two months because of illness and, during that time, “the division rolled along just fine in my absence.”

 Schmookler said he decided teachers to be cut based on departments that could be condensed – English and math – and then on seniority within those departments.

“The last one hired, first one fired,” he said.

However, Schmookler said he did keep two math teachers who also teach science even though they haven’t been at Fremont as long as the math teacher he had to let go. That teacher only teaches math.

Michael Jackson, the director of Media Academy, said the loss of teachers at the school he helped to found is devastating. “I feel like I lost my hand,” he said.

Meanwhile at College Preparatory & Architecture Academy, Assistant Principal Emiliano Sanchez is pleased that many teachers have said they would volunteer to keep some programs running. tion” as part of a statewide rally for better education funding.

On March 4, Fremont Federation, along with all of Oakland Unified School District, conducted a fire drill at 9:15 a.m. This fire drill was approved by the OUSD as a way for schools to show their support.

Between 7:30 a.m. and 8:10 a.m., students at Fremont Federation passed out flyers to inform students about the walk out and made signs for the walk out.

One of the signs read: “[reduced] teachers pay + larger classes = poor education,” suggesting that with larger classes that are likely to be a reality because of education funding cuts, students won’t get the attention they need to do well in school.

After the fire drill, some of Fremont’s students and teachers gathered their signs and marched to city hall.  

As people drove by the marchers they honked their horns to show their support.

Even elementary students participated in the march. ASCEND K-8 grade school students and staff held their signs and marched around their school to show support.

Some teachers were upset that some of their students didn’t return to class after the fire drill.

“I am certainly happy that students support teachers and education funding. However, I was not too happy that I had just half my second period class due to the unauthorized walk out after the fire drill,” said Media Studies teacher Lisa Shafer.