COACHELLA, Calif. - Adam Santana is an English teacher with the Coachella Valley Unified School District. But he fears it won't be for long. He's one of 54 teachers who got a pink slip in March, but still doesn't have a straight answer about why.
"I was under the impression at the beginning we were losing our jobs because financially we just didn't have the money," Santana said.
"I think there was a misunderstanding about what all this was. The RIFs were because of program changes," said Richard Razo, president of the Coachella Valley Teachers Association.
Razo said the cuts were not a district effort to avoid bankruptcy but a result of high school schedules changing next year, from four and five periods to six, thereby requiring less teachers.
Superintendent Darryl Adams tells us it's a mix of both factors. But while the district spent months making cuts to its budget, it's now offering a five percent raise to remaining teachers.
"When I saw a five percent offer I had really mixed feelings because finance was one of the reasons we were given. It just doesn't make sense," Santana said.
He and other teachers addressed the board Thursday night before it makes its final decision on those layoffs in an emergency meeting next Tuesday. Santana hopes officials recognize the vital role each teacher has in the community.
"I know it's not personal, the school board doesn't know me, but I would hope they know what we do and how important we are in the classroom," Santana said.