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Day of the Teacher comes as layoff deadline approaches

DSUSD gets ready to layoff nearly 70 certificated employees.

LA QUINTA, Calif. - It's California's Day of the Teacher, but it's not quite a celebration for some of our valley school districts, which are a week away from laying off their employees. Some people say it's time for an alternate solution.

"We're always getting cut, it's like when is it going to stop?" said Marlon Martinez, one of the 70 certificated Desert Sands Unified School District employees expected to be laid off next week.

For many teachers layoffs have become routine.

"It's happened to to me about four times. Four times in seven years, it's hard," said Martinez.

Palm Springs Unified is also making some cuts to nearly 40 positions.

Mona Davidson, the president of the Desert Sands Teachers Association, said teachers should be a priority -- not a sacrifice.

"Teachers are on the front line. That's the last place the district should be looking to cut," said Davidson.

Desert Sands is also looking at furlough days and salary rollbacks to make up for the district's $7.5 million budget shortfall. It's bracing itself for another $9.5 million in cuts if the governor's November tax initiative doesn't pass.

"It's time that the funding for school be stabilized," said Davidson.

However, Wednesday's Day of the Teacher is all about "honoring, honoring and making people aware of how important teachers really are," said Davidson.

Martinez said despite the cuts, he's optimistic.

"I do feel appreciated, I just try to get past getting riffed and hoping to get my job back," said Martinez.

DSUSD is also looking to reduce management positions and will continue reworking the budget. Its goal and big challenge is keeping class sizes down, which some are ranging anywhere from 30 to 40-plus students per classroom.

The district hopes to return all of its laid off employees next school year.

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