California Teachers Face Massive Layoffs

April 11, 2003

At the end of March, school districts throughout California sent out layoff notices for the next school year (2003-04) to 25,000 primary and secondary school teachers -- 20% of the state's public school teachers.

These layoffs are a result of drastic budget cuts imposed by Democratic Governor Gray Davis who is slashing $1.6 billion in state financing for public education.

Obviously these cuts will have a disastrous effect on California's schools. Class sizes will be increased (perhaps to as high as 40-50 students in certain districts) and the curriculum will be drastically curtailed with many districts planning to eliminate or slash classes in music, art, physical education, language studies, computers, after school programs, etc. Nurses, librarians, and other professionals will also be dismissed as well as janitors, kitchen workers, and others.

These cuts are coming at the worst possible time, when the state is projecting years of increasing student enrollment and a growing shortage of teachers especially in such areas as math, science and special education.

In districts across the state, teachers, parents and students are building coalitions and already unfolding a variety of actions to fight against these cutbacks. These struggles are vital not only for defending the livelihoods of teachers and other school employees but also for the future of the public school system.