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Rally today protests school cuts
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STOCKTON – In conjunction with “Pink Friday,” the San Joaquin Office of Education today will address the cuts impacting public education.

Included are reductions of over $11.6 billion in education funding made in the recently passed state budget.

“The new state budget makes this the largest single budget cut ever made to public education in California,” said Ken Johnson, president of Manteca Educators Association, at last Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Representatives from SJCOE along with the various unions and school districts are scheduled to be on hand for the rally scheduled at 1 p.m. at 2707 Transworld Drive, Stockton.

School districts from throughout the state have a March 15 deadline to hand out layoff notices to certificated personnel for the 2009-10 school year.

Manteca Unified has plans of issuing 261 pink slips – hence, the name “Pink Friday” – to classified employees as part of the $23.5 million budget shortfall.

Assistant Superintendent Don Halseth noted earlier in the week that the layoffs address positions and not people, with the reason behind the action possibly to provide some general fund flexibility.

Plans also call for MEA to conduct a “Pink Friday” rally from 4 to 5 p.m. at the intersection of Louise Avenue and Main Street.

Similar-type rallies are also planned this afternoon for those at Lodi Unified (Hutchins Street and Kettleman Lane) and Stockton Unified (March Lane and Pacific Avenue).