Parents, students protest school staffing cuts

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Parents and students protest proposed staff cuts at Miramar Ranch Elementary School.

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SAN DIEGO – A couple of dozen parents, student and teachers rallied in front of Miramar Ranch Elementary School Thursday morning to protest budget cuts that they fear would end the school’s physical education program and lead to the loss of vice principal.

The budget shortfall prompted the San Diego Unified School District to send layoff notifications to around 1,000 teachers and administrators last week.

The demonstrators at Miramar Ranch Elementary held up hand-lettered signs saying things like “We [love] and support our teachers and staff,” “We [love] Mrs. Robinson” and “Save P.E.!” as young students chanted “Save P.E.” Several teachers and staff members at the school, including a P.E. teacher, received pink slips last week.

In January, the school district, which is the second largest in the state, announced it had a projected budget deficit for the 2017-2018 fiscal year of $124 million. The district blamed the shortfall on declining enrollment and rising pension costs.

Parents at the school said the decision to cut staff positions is frustrating because the district made the decision without their input.

“I understand that they’re in a bind trying to figure out how to make it work, but somehow we have to make things better for our schools in California,” parent Susan Portrey said. “Someone’s got to step up and figure this out.”

The rally, which began at about 7:20 a.m., lasted about 20 minutes.

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