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Impressive Turnout at the “Stand Up For Schools” Rally

Castro Valley Teachers Association rally support for the schools

The Castro Valley Teachers Association held a rally at Castro Valley High School to try to raise awareness and build support to stop proposed cuts to Castro Valley schools.

The rally was held yesterday to coincide with the March 1 nationwide day of protests to protect public education.

John Green, a history teacher at Castro Valley High School and president of the Castro Valley Teachers Association, said the school district has money that can be used and the proposed cuts are not necessary.

“We know the money is out there,” he said. “We want them to use the money so we can provide excellent service to our students."

“Lawmakers need to quit balancing the budget on the backs of teachers and students,” commented Green.

The rally was held at 3:30 p.m. in front of Castro Valley High School. The group of 200 supporters in attendance was a mix of teachers, students, parents and assorted school support staff.

Drivers passing by the rally honked at the groups waving signs along the front of the school.

Cathy Lee, president of the San Lorenzo Education Association, said that money spent on kids’ education is an important investment.

Students from all over Castro Valley came out to support the rally after being released from classes for the day.

“I am out here because I care about proposed cuts for next year,” said Brenda Liu, who is a senior at Castro Valley High School, Secretary of the ASB and member of the Leadership Program on campus.

Jane King, a parent of two children who attend Castro Valley Elementary, came with her children.

“I am here because of class sizes,” she said. “Money is not being used effectively. Getting rid of teachers is not the solution. Make your voice be heard.”

Green says Castro Valley Unified has millions in reserves and should be using that money rather than making drastic cuts to grades K-12. Those reductions may include giving pink slips to 18 educators and increasing class sizes.

The Castro Valley Teachers Association provided hamburgers, chips and drinks to the crowd and the Castro Valley High School band played in front of the school.

A school board meeting was held later that evening at Canyon Middle School.

According to Castro Valley Unified School District Superintendent Jim Negri, during the meeting the board committed to spend $5.5 million of one-time funds in the general fund balance to help offset the projected deficit for 2012-13 and to use $500,000 from the Instructional Materials Fund and Deferred Maintenance reserves.

He said the board also voted to increase class sizes in grades K-3 to 28 students for each teacher (current ratio is 25 students to one teacher).

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