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Hundreds of Sweetwater UHSD students rally against teacher layoffs

Posted at 11:21 AM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 14:47:53-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Hundreds of students at nearly a dozen schools walked out of class Friday in protest of the planned layoffs by the Sweetwater Union High School District.

The district says cutting the teachers is the last resort to fixing a $30 million budget deficit. But students across the district say cutting their teachers will not solve the problem.

“I felt it was important because a school like Southwest, where it’s predominantly low income, predominantly Mexican we are typically overlooked and not heard,” says Dale McEnany, a senior at Southwest High. “So this protest is the first step in undoing that.”


The Sweetwater Union High School Board has decided to layoff nearly 240 teachers, librarians, and Learning Center staff.

Teachers and Students at Southwest High say cutting the Learning Center program will cause students to be enrolled in Independent Studies, which is similar to homeschooling. This program only has a 7 percent graduation rate. About 1,300 students use the district’s dozen learning centers.

The state is auditing the district for potential money mismanagement, but the district says the shortfall is because of the decline in student enrollment and revenue.

Students say they believe the district should cut the salaries of administrators instead of cutting hundreds of teachers. SUHSD's superintendent took home $257,000 in 2018.

During the meeting where board members approved the cuts, Superintendent Dr. Karen Janney said they have looked at ways to save the positions.

“Even in the most challenging financial times, layoffs for this governance team have been a last resort,” said Janney.

Teachers and staff at risk of being laid off will receive pink slips in early March, though a final decision on the fate of their employment won't come until May.