Ramona teachers wage State of Emergency campaign

By Maureen Robertson

Don’t look for Donna Braye-Romero in her kindergarten class at Ramona Community School next Tuesday through Thursday. As president of the Ramona Teachers Association, she’ll be in Sacramento representing Ramona Unified School District teachers at the Capitol Building.

“I’ll be talking with legislators, encouraging them to pass a budget that protects education and the basic services we need in our state,” she said. “There needs to be systemic change in the funding of education and basic services in the state of California in general.”

RTA is a member of the California Teachers Association, which, after three years of cuts to education, has declared a state of emergency in education. During her report to the Ramona school board in April, Braye-Romero outlined the Week of Action CTA has titled LEARN and scheduled from May 9 through 13.

LEARN, she explained, stands for the different activities that will occur throughout the state next week:

•L—Legislative Action on Monday;

•E—Educate Every Parent on Tuesday;

•A—Appreciate Teachers and Their Education Allies on Wednesday;

•R—Revenue Education for the Community on Thursday; and

•N—Not Business As Usual on Friday.

The week will culminate in a rally in Embarcadero Marina Park North in San Diego on Friday, May 13, from 4 to 6 p.m.

“We’re encouraging all our teachers and staff to wear their school spirit, to show school spirit for their own local schools that day, and then we will hopefully have a huge turnout of Ramona teachers and parents and students and personnel down there at that rally,” Braye-Romero told school trustees.

When the week starts on Monday, every teacher will be asked to call their legislators “to advocate for the passage of the taxes and the support of the budget proposals that the governor currently has on the table,” Braye-Romero said. “They’re also going to be asked to email legislators, especially the Republican holdouts, to inform them of the need to fund our schools.”

On Tuesday, Ramona teachers will distribute flyers to parents before and after school “to emphasize some of our points and some of our needs, asking them to stand up and speak for their children as well.”

Area teachers will also participate in a Grade In at the Westfield North County shopping mall in Escondido. The Grade In will be staged in the Food Court, with teachers grading papers and doing other activities such as distributing Support Education flyers and handouts, said Braye-Romero.

Ramona teachers will be visiting the sheriff’s station on Montecito Road and fire stations in town on Wednesday, “delivering baked goods to say thank you,” she said.

Teachers and other district employees are asked to wear red next Thursday “to show solidarity and to stop the bleeding in education.”

“We’re asking all district personnel to put posts on their Facebook to support education and come up with some slogans that possibly can go along with that,” she said. “One of the slogans that CTA is putting out there is ‘We Are One.’”

Even though Friday is “Not Business As Usual” day, “we’re all going to be here doing our business as usual, because, of course, we value our children, but we’re not going to have business as usual after school,” Braye-Romero said as she discussed the rally planned in San Diego.

“So that’s our plan,” she said. “We would like your support...We’re hoping that all of you will be in support of it and join us.”

At the direction of the San Diego County Office of Education, the Ramona district is planning for a $2.1 million loss of revenue in the 2011-12 school year that starts July 1.

“To accomplish this, the governing board is preparing a reduction of certificated, classified and administrative positions, a reduction in funding for classroom supplies, and an extension of most of the cost-cutting strategies begun three years ago,” Superintendent Robert Graeff told district employees in an email message last month.

“If the governor’s revised budget in May responds to the Legislature’s failure with even deeper cuts to public education, all school districts will experience distinct challenges in making ends meet.”



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