By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Teachers protest cuts
Ceres Unified teachers, classified staff, students, board members and leaders staged demonstrations near all 17 school sites Thursday morning as part of March 4th National Day of Action to protest ongoing funding cuts to education.

"The purpose was to let the Legislature in Sacramento know cuts to schools hurt students," CUSD Teachers' Association President Cheryl Brewer said.

Ceres Unified has cut $10 million from its budget the past two years.

An additional $5-6 million will have to be trimmed in 2010-11.

All employees have been asked to take an 8.5 percent reduction in salary next school year to close the gap. The move would help avoid layoffs.

"The state has enough money to do whatever it wants to do," CUSD Supt. Walt Hanline said. "Why is education being cut? Education should be the best-funded program. Prison and welfare systems are in the top 10 in the country. Not our schools. That's criminal.

"Education is not a priority of the legislators. They're not interested in doing what's right for kids. They want to do what's politically expedient. Kids don't donate to political candidates."

Brewer, who is also a sixth-grade teacher at Hidahl Elementary, helped organize Ceres Unified's peaceful protest. Participants gathered for 15 minutes before the start of the workday

"It was positive because it was a time we came together with a common cause," said Hanline, who was stationed at Ceres High School. "Everybody was out on corners, not on school sites. We tried to make sure we didn't do anything inappropriate."

School board members Jim Kinard, Eric Ingwerson, Mike Welsh, Lourdes Perez, Betty Davis, Valli Wigt and Faye Lane were positioned at Adkison, Carroll Fowler, Mae Hensley, Hidahl, Virginia Parks and Walter White schools, respectively.

"We were thrilled School Board members. administrators and classified staff also joined," said Brewer, who was among the 25 people outside Hidahl. "It was gratifying to see."

"The Legislature needs to give education more than crumbs," Hanline said. "It's just not right what they're doing."

According to the website,, more than $17 billion has been cut from public schools and colleges in the last two years. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to cut another $2.5 billion.

In California more than 29,000 layoff notices were sent to educators this year. More than 16,000 teachers and education support professionals have lost their jobs.