Schools: Solving Budget Woes in Duarte

I appreciate the article (Jan. 19) regarding the Duarte Unified School District by Kevin Uhrich, but I would like to add some comments that seem to be necessary information for the residents of Duarte whose children are the real sufferers.

While salaries have not been cut at this time, there have been other reductions going back several years. Here are some examples. We have lost teacher aides and staff members which are not obvious to the public. When the registrar position was removed from the high school, the work was simply added to the counselors and office clerks with no more time or compensation to do the work.

In my own case, as a counselor, I have a stipend above the basic teacher salary assignment. During the nine years I have worked in the district the stipend has not increased but the work year has increased 10 days. As part of the new contract, these kinds of stipends are being reduced and some faculty and staff are losing part of the benefit package. Each faculty member is being asked to give a gift of $150 back to the district this spring.

While it appears that the entire district is pulling together to solve the problem, the main changes are in cutting services, reducing supplies and increasing class size. The parents of Duarte need to be aware since ultimately it is the education of their children which is hurt. The faculty and staff feel that they are being asked for much but have not been told what will be given by the district office. Mistrust is growing rapidly.



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