Saturday, November 27, 2010

Teachers fight for pre-k and prep time

Updated: Monday, 22 Nov 2010, 10:59 PM CST
Published : Monday, 22 Nov 2010, 10:52 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) - There was not a drop of rain outside, but dozens of Austin school teachers opened their umbrellas outside the Austin school board meeting Monday night.

"If there is a rainy day fund it's time to use it," said Carole San Miguel, a tenth grade teacher at LBJ High School.

She is part of the local teachers' union Education Austin. Members of the group rallied together on two issues where they see no room for compromise - full day pre-k funding and teacher planning periods.

The superintendent is suggesting cutting two planning times down to one as the district tries to figure out how to shave between $32 to $60 million off the 2011-2012 budget.

?"Without enough time to plan properly you can't teach properly," said Steven Wallach, who teaches several subjects at Travis High School including World Geography and U.S History.

Co-President of Education Austin, Rae Nwosu, said teachers would have to take on more students which means less teachers would be needed. That is where the cost savings comes in.

"They're depending on teachers to put in time for no pay to make their schedule and make their set of priorities work and I think it's despicable," said Wallach.

Pre-kindergarten teachers are fighting to keep the full day program from dwindling down to half a day.

"It's not just protecting our jobs, it's protecting our children," said Erika Avenivas who teaches at Lucy Read Pre-K Demonstration School.

Federal funding that cover half of the pre-k day runs out at the end of the year. The superintendent has not said that the program will be cut, but it is still a mystery where the money will come from to keep it going.

Teachers hope the board takes it off the table.


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