For Immediate Release: Mar. 2, 2022
Contact: Amanda Hart, email@example.com, 510-631-4437
San Francisco Educators Targeted for Layoffs Slam Budget Proposal
SAN FRANCISCO— Some of the hundreds of San Francisco Public School paraeducators, teachers, and social workers who received preliminary layoff notices spoke out forcefully last night criticizing the school district’s budget plans, including layoffs to educators who provide direct services to students and families. Educators called in and urged the Board of Education to reject the layoffs.
As part of its plan to drastically cut the public school budget, the San Francisco Unified School District has sent preliminary layoff notices to more than 400 paraeducators, certified teachers, family liaisons, community school coordinators, social workers, counselors, and language teachers. The school board voted to accept the layoff notices for most of those positions at Tuesday night’s board meeting, except for 47 paraeducators.
Teanna Tillery, UESF Sergeant at Arms and longtime paraeducator in SFUSD, said “The Board felt the pressure. Educators, parents and community members spoke to the critical role paraeducators play. We sent over 1,000 letters to district management and BOE commissioners demanding they fund schools first. Paraeducators lead the organizing to protect the important work we do for our students. Now, we must step up for all educators so our students can have the schools they deserve.”
United Educators of San Francisco President Cassondra Curiel said every one of the layoffs is unnecessary and committed to continuing to fight until every notice was rescinded. “There is no financial reason to get rid of these vital educators, who provide essential instruction, services, and programs to students and their families,” Curiel said. “The district has the money for their salaries; it’s disingenuous to say otherwise. And there is major state funding on the way for our all-important community schools. Educators and families have been actively campaigning against these layoffs since they were announced. We saw a small victory last night with the 47 paraeducators saved, and we will continue to fight until every notice has been rescinded.”
Yajaira Cuapio, a school social worker, said she was confounded by the decision to lay off social workers like herself. “In our school district, we’ve always had a full load of students who need social and emotional assistance. But since the pandemic, the need for social workers has been even greater than ever. We need more—not fewer—social workers and counselors. I don’t understand the priorities of the district. To lay off so many social workers and counselors is sending a message to students and families that the district doesn’t care about you—figure out your problems on your own. That’s irresponsible and not how a big-city school district should operate. It’s just stunning.”
Aaron Aguilar, a 6th-grade teacher at Willie Brown Middle School, said his students would lose a confidant and trusted teacher if he is laid off. “I’ve been able to build a level of trust with my students that has paid off in so many ways. I’ve had students share family difficulties with me, allowing me to connect them to resources that have made a huge difference in their lives. To me, it’s all part of being a great teacher. It’s very devastating to put so much into the career I love, only to be told I am disposable,” Aguilar said.
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