By Giovanni Gaines, Education Voices student
Fremont High School teachers are in a crisis. At Fremont, having a lot of subjects requires more teachers. But that is changing.
This year, Fremont High School, located at 47th Avenue and Foothill Boulevard, is running low on funding, said Principal Dan Hurst. Hurst plans to cut teachers’ jobs at Fremont High to save money.
Hurst gave out five pink slips to teachers at Fremont High School in the spring, letting teachers know that they may not be able to teach at the school in September.
“These teachers are being consolidated,” he said. “Consolidated” means that the school does not have enough money to keep them, and they may have to find another job within the district. According to Hurst, more pink slips were given out this year than last year.
“We need more students to come to our school because our system of funding works off of a warm body count,” said Edith Jordan, assistant principal at Fremont High.
The school will get more money if there are more students attending. When the number of students decreases, so does funding. When this happens, teachers are cut.
In general, “$40,000 – $66,000 plus benefits is needed to have a teacher teach at the school,” said Geometry teacher Sunny Chan.
According to Hurst, new teachers earn a minimum of $40,000 a year and more experienced teachers earn $75,000 a year.
Teachers say it is difficult being a teacher when you know that you could lose your job.
“Teachers only sign up for one year of teaching, and they can be fired at any point in time,” said Advanced Drama teacher Michael Jackson. “You can be dismissed for any given reason,” added Jackson, who will not return to teach at Fremont next year.
And how do students feel? They are dissatisfied with the principal’s decisions and want to make changes. Students are trying hard to get their voices heard to get what they deserve. Most of the students at Fremont High ended their last term with classroom discussions about teacher retention and turnover.
This story and the entire Education Voices series were made possible through the support of The California Endowment. Our student reporters for this series are participants in programs at Urban Peace Movement. Our lead trainer in the Education Voices project is Irene Florez of Oakland Local staff and our staff reporters are Barbara Grady and Jon Leckie. Many thanks to the Endowment and UPM for the support of this program, and to our wonderful coaches, trainers and student reporters.
Follow the entire series here: http://oaklandlocal.com/?s=teacher-retention
See our earlier California Endowment supported reporting package at http://oaklandlocal.com/?s=safe-routes