Durham teachers, students address board to save teaching jobs

Posted May 6, 2010 9:56 p.m. EDT
Updated May 6, 2010 11:26 p.m. EDT

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— Students and teachers gave passionate pleas on Thursday in an effort to save 237 teaching jobs that will be lost due to budget cuts in Durham Public Schools.

Next year’s budget for Durham schools includes $13 million in teacher job losses

“It’s going to be impossible to give students what they need,” teacher Dionne Jiminez said.

Educators say they already face class sizes as high as 30 students and are dealing with a shortage of supplies.

“Teachers are dropping left and right,” student Tevin Armstrong said.

Students expressed their concerns to the Durham County Board of Education during a work-session on Thursday evening.

“If we have no other way to do this, raise taxes,” Jiminez said.

“I will do whatever it takes to save a job,” board member Omega Parker said.

In a symbolic gesture, school board members agreed to reduce their $800 dollar a month stipend to $500 a month as a good faith measure to the public.

“I will give up whatever to fund all positions,” board chair Minnie Forte-Brown said.

They have also decided to draft a proposal asking county commissioners to restore the $13 million in cuts.

Another proposal would eliminate automatic contract renewals for executive leadership team members under contract. Instead, renewals would be based on performance. Also, if salary decreases were issued for the district, those decreases would be factored into the new contracts.

Travel allowances will also be removed, in lieu of reimbursements.

The Board of Education will meet May 13 to vote on the budget.