Fairly full boardroom tonight. Some empty seats. Some of the occupied seats are filled with St. Mary’s High students doing an assignment for a government class.
Anyway … it’s time for public comment:
Ellen Old, STA: On the possible teaching layoffs … “This has become the new normal in Stockton Unified. … I want to challenge that. I think there’s lots of good reasons to establish a new new normal in Stockton Unified.” She said if the average teacher has 30 kids and the district is possibly laying off 77 teachers, it computes to more than 2,300 people. She also said the federal sequester is not to blame for possible layoffs. She said categorical money used to help the district survive in 2011 is no longer available and that’s why money is an issue. “Save money. Don’t riff teachers this year. It costs money to lay people off. How about providing continuity?”
Barbara Greenwood, head of counselors’ union and an Edison High counselor: She said students have said repeatedly they need more counselors. ” She said the counselor-student ratio in SUSD is 1-to-727 and will increase to more than 1-to-900 if layoffs go through.
Tammy Earnest, Chavez High counselor: “We have a good counseling team. Laying off counselors makes it difficult for us to maintain relationships we have with our students. With all the violence and uncertainty in Stockton, we help students navigate their lives. We encourage students daily and we’re there for them.”
Hank Klopstock, Stockton High counselor: He said studies show “underachieving students who receive counseling improve significantly. Counselors are effective at teaching social skills … and reducing aggressive behaviors.”
Pat Klopstock, Stagg counselor: “We need to look at the continuity of our counselors being there. Every time we have layoffs, counselors do shuffling and we don’t know who’s coming back. It makes it so hard for staff and students. Let’s say we’re going to keep the staff we have and stop this proceeding.”
Richard Soto, Tracy counselor: He said students have told the district they need counselors … “The No. 1 concern at Stagg High School was counselors.” He said they help at-risk students and also students who are on the road to college. “You have to work with the successful students just as much as the ones who are at-risk if you are going to change the culture of the school. … Not only do we need to retain the counselors you currently have. You need to add.”
There also were comments from critics of Edison High football coach Andre Horace.