Public weighs in on Durham Schools' budget

May 6, 2010 8:37:04 PM PDT
The public had the chance to weigh in Thursday on Durham Public Schools' proposed budget, which is expected to include some massive cuts that could cost some teachers their jobs.Board members got an earful from students, parents and teachers who don't want to see Durham Public Schools lose out.

"I want to make sure that in this day, the board understands that teachers need a lot of flexibility and a lot of help and we can work this together," parent Rodrigo Dorfman said.

The $383 million budget proposal calls for a $20 million reduction. It cuts spending for new texts books and technology, cuts summer school classes, slashes more than 60 jobs from the central office and layoffs more than 200 teachers.

The layoffs would crowd classes in every Durham public school with about four extra students.

"We just came from a hearing with judge manning where we're already being looked at for low performing schools, but you want to cut 237 teachers next year," said Kristy Moore with the Durham Association of Educators.

Students and teachers from Hillside High School who spoke out Thursday night in large numbers said they stand to lose the most.

"Students like me who try to learn anyway, you just can't learn in that environment and it's just extremely detrimental," Hillside High School sophomore Joshua Martin said.

The proposal led more than 300 to march from Hillside High School to the county office last week --many with umbrellas-- believing county commissioners can do more to fill the gap with a $36 million rainy day fund.

"It's crazy to me that we're continually asking students and teachers to raise the bar to achieve higher things with less and less funding," Hillside High School English teacher Holly Jordan said.

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