Durham teachers, community protest layoffs

May 21, 2010 8:19:07 PM PDT
Durham teachers, parents, students and community leaders rallied outside Durham Public Schools' headquarters Friday to emphatically slam the ball in the county commission's court.They are upset over a proposal to lay off more than 200 teachers in the school district.

"Here in Durham, we care about education and education is first and no matter what they need to fund education first," said Kristy Moore with the Durham Association of Educators.

Protesters say they believe commissioners should use the estimated $92 million rainy day fund to save 237 teaching jobs.

"If they have to take the money out of a discretionary fund and maybe lose their triple a bond for a year, bond rating for a year than that needs to happen," Moore said.

The money would save people, like chorus teacher Dolli Bradford, who have already received a pink slip.

"There just saying that it's due to budget cuts that positions are cut and we won't get a defining answer probably until around June," Bradford said.

"If the rainy day fund isn't here for something, it should be here for our children," Brogden Middle Teacher Jennifer Warnecke said.

Several school board members in attendance Friday have already issued a budget that would redeem the positions with a county tax hike, but some commissioners have also scorned the idea of the four and a half cent hike to make up the difference.

Even students say they believe laying off teachers would mean a lower quality education.

"We want small classes, because I notice that some of the people, some of the teachers just can't handle it," Club Boulevard second grader Emilia Gray said.

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