ABC-7 is continuing to bring you coverage of the El Paso School District's budget battle. At Tuesday's board meeting, teachers and custodians came out in full force, speaking out against recent changes.
El Paso teachers unions heard the district was going to get rid of its custodial staff and outsource. This rumor scared a lot of people tonight and more than 300 people packed into that board room, to express their growing distrust of the Board of Managers and Superintendent Juan Cabrera.
"Custodians are part of the campus family," said American Federation of Teachers President Lucy Clark. "They have a concern for the children under their care."
"Our custodians do more than really just maintain a building," said Norma de la Rosa, president of the El Paso Teachers' Association. "They are the caretakers of our students. They are for many of our students the first person they see in the morning and the last person they see at night."
But Board President Dee Margo cleared up the rumor. He said no outsourcing is going to happen, it was just an idea they brought up in a brainstorming session. And it was in one of those brainstorming sessions the idea of combining Jefferson High and Bowie came up which upset a lot of people.
Teachers are also upset the districts $12.5 million budget shortfall means no more block schedules at middle schools, less prep periods for teachers, and 131 teaching jobs being moved to different campuses.
At the board meeting, teachers went after Cabrera, claiming hes running the district like a business and not an educational institution, and the board of managers are making big decision without being duly elected by the taxpayers.
"To Mr. Cabrera, it's appalling to learn of the extensive remodeling of your office in a building with a short-lived lease," said one Coronado High teacher. "When 130 teachers are being surplused. It is just disheartening to see you adding more six figure-salaried administrators to an already top-heavy district."
The district has said in response, no custodians are losing their jobs, no teachers are losing their jobs, and no schools are being combined. But they are trying to make the district more efficient since it has more than $12 million less to work with this year. And district administrators said that means there's going to have to be some changes.