Pink slip deadline day for NJ teachers

May 15, 2010 2:50:43 PM PDT
New Jersey's budget crisis is hitting home for hundreds of teachers.

Saturday is the deadline for teachers to be given pink slips.

A lot of parents and students got a sad lesson in how the budget problems will impact them.

"Who wouldn't be devastated? This is going to affect our children," Victoria Oquendo said.

"I'm upset. The students and teachers are upset," Yadira Spina said.

Parents from PS 18 now fear the worst education crisis in decades with their kids stuck in the middle losing their teachers to budget cuts.

"It's depressing. Teachers can't enjoy the rest of the school year," 8th grader Josalynn Cruz said.

"We're not gonna have teachers here who worked hard for their jobs," another 8th grader, Caitlynn Martinez, said.

Paterson's often troubled school district has been under state control for years. It's one place where the budget failed.

"We're 80 million dollars in the hole," Peter Tirri, president of the Paterson Education Association, said.

And that's meant nearly 800 teachers and support staff have been pink slipped.

It's a huge blow to an urban district educating about 24-thousand students already on a shoe-string budget.

Education budgets across the nation are hurt so bad financially, the Department of Education is now appealing to Congress for billions to help local school districts.

Secretary Arne Duncan says 23 billion is needed to save education jobs. Another 1 billion is needed to save early childhood education programs. In a letter to Congressional leaders, Duncan called for swift action.

"Millions of children will experience these budget cuts? through reduction in class time, cuts to early childhood programs, extracurricular activities... summer school, and reduced course offerings, as teachers are laid off," Duncan wrote.

Parents here say Gov. Christie's budget has put their kids at an extreme disadvantage.

"These cuts say education is no longer important," one parent said.