School Board Cuts Calexico Teachers’ Jobs, Funding

By Mario Conde

Police Intervene At Raucous Meeting

The Calexico School Board approved cuts for the next year by eliminating the Pre-School Program and reducing the Adult Education Program.
In a very intense meeting, the School Board approved the reduction of 89 teachers by the end of the present school year. The vote was 3-2 with Trustees Joong Kim and Gloria Romo casting the nay vote.
The meeting was scheduled to take place at the Calexico City Hall where teachers protested outside the building against the proposed cuts. The meeting was moved to the City Chambers due to issues regarding setup of PA systems, overtime of staff as well as affecting Cesar Chavez cafeteria service. The district site limits seating to 85 persons; the Calexico chambers allows for 135 persons. The move to the city chambers was an attempt to accommodate overflow and eliminate the issues with Cesar Chavez, officials said.
Teachers present at the meeting demanded the meeting to be moved to Cesar Chavez but the board voted 4-1 to keep the meeting at Council Chambers. Trustee Kim was the only one that supported the idea to move the meeting.
The meeting continued by recognizing the students of the month until public safety officials arrived and asked those standing to leave the chambers because it violated fire codes. Teachers refused to leave the Chambers since they said it was their right to be there and asked for the meeting to be moved once again. After some tense moments where there was a lot of screaming and shouting by teachers, the Board voted to move the meeting location to Cesar Chavez.
The Board of Education reconvened thirty-minutes later and allowed 40 minutes for public comments where teachers spoke about the ramifications to students by making these cuts.
The Board approved the reduction of the Adult Education Program in Calexico and will reduce the number of teacher from four to one. The annual cost to the District to serve adults is $420,000 and will reduce the number of Adult Education classes from four to two classes. Reducing this program will save the District $375,594 for the 2012-2013 school years.
The District also took action and voted to eliminate the Pre-School program where three instructors will be laid off  by May 31st of this year. Eliminating the Preschool Program will save the District $329,400 for the 2012-2013 school year, Superintendent Richard Fragale said.