Students protest teacher layoffs, walk out of school
April 14, 2011
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Cinco Ranch students gathered in the rotunda and then walked onto Cinco Ranch Blvd. to protest the ongoing district- wide staff layoffs at approximately 10:15 a.m. on April 14.
Hundreds of students participated in a sit-in in the rotunda before leaving the campus. Teachers and school officials looked on while security guards supervised traffic.
“We don’t support the firing of our teachers at all. It’s not right in any way,” senior Gabby Conriquez said.
Students distributed signs saying “We love our teachers” and “save our teachers” while wearing signs supporting specific teachers.
A total of 384 teachers district-wide will be laid off and 224 other teachers have already resigned under a monetary incentive program or retired. The layoffs are an attempt to save the district $23 million to $26 million due to the approximate $50 million budget shortfall.
Teachers were notified of employment termination beginning April 12. Those laid off held probationary contracts and were relatively new to the district, according to district officials.
An additional 22 of 146 administrative staff members will not be employed with KatyI.S.D. next year.
School officials said that students participating in the protest will be counted absent from missed classes but will not be disciplined.
“As far as students actions today I have to say… it does touch my heart to see young people who do things passionately and want to show their support,” Psychology teacher and cheerleading sponsor Amy McConnell said, who confirmed that she has not been terminated. “I do think it is commendable that you are so passionate about your teachers and your educations and you value that.”
Student who wish to protest may contact Texas State Representative John Zerwas at 512-463-0657 or Texas State Senator Glenn Hegar at 512-463-0118.