March Issue
March 31st 2024
80°F in Pasadena, CA
Scattered clouds ↑85° ↓68°
March Issue
March 31st 2024
80°F in Pasadena, CA
Scattered clouds ↑85° ↓68°

PUSD Budget Cuts Loom: Call to Student Action

.reaten PHS librarian, academy teachers, and more, will students rise up to reach a solution with the Board?


On February 16th, 2024, the PUSD Board of Education approved the closure of over two-hundred positions throughout the district. The measure extends to teachers, administrators, and central office jobs.

The staff cuts, mandated by the Los Angeles Office of Education, are the response to a significant reduction in funding. As our enrollment continues to fall, and financial support from the pandemic dries up, PUSD must ready itself for serious changes in the upcoming school year. And on the state level, California’s education budget is expected to see a deficit anywhere from $36-78 billion.

In other words, PUSD has no choice but to make significant budget cuts. Unfortunately, due to our recent low enrollment and lack of cemented programs like IB (at Blair) or early college access (at John Muir), PHS can expect to be impacted the most.

Right now, a lot of the at-risk positions are PHS staff who aren’t necessarily teachers, but who play just as important of a role in shaping our high school experiences. These include positions like our librarian, school psychologists, front-desk workers, special education TAs, and even academy teachers. Another targeted group are teachers whose main roles are coordinating special programs, such as BARR or on-site counseling. Because many of these roles aren’t officially outlined under contract, they face the greatest risk of removal.

Furthermore, the Board plans to determine who exactly will be cut based on seniority, so many of our younger or newer teachers are most likely to go - regardless of the impacts they may have had on our campus communities.

If you’re anything like me, this is a troubling thought. These are the staff members who have supported us through our academics, social lives, and wellbeing more so than most teachers. Time and time again, I have seen these staff taking the time to sit down with my friends who were hurting, coaching us through extracurriculars, or organizing meaningful community events that have defined a lot of our high school experiences. Whether it’s the safe space of the Wellbeing Center, the lunchtime pizza parties that celebrate kindness, or the warm and welcoming library, the services that these staff provide make a difference.

To withdraw these positions would deconstruct the backbones of the best things about PHS: our community, our support systems, and our mental health resources.

So what can we, as students, do to protect these staff?

Well, as a student body, we may not be able to influence how much funding our district gets - but what we can influence is what happens to that money.

The Board has already recognized how severely these cuts may impact our school communities, and has vocalized efforts to focus the majority of position removals into the central office - away from our campuses. In other words, this is a Board that wants to do right by student needs.

However, they may be limited by a distant view of the campus. They don’t know what it’s like to be a student at Pasadena High, but we do.

This is where collaboration comes into play: we are the only people who know what it’s like to be students at PHS in 2024, so it is we who must do our best to share this perspective with the Board. From here, it’s our duty to pick up the torch and advocate for the positions that we know have made a difference. To protect our librarian, our academy coordinators, our TAs, our school therapists, and so many more.

What’s needed right now is collaboration - open, constructive, and meaningful conversations between the Board, the students, and the community. Each group at play has a unique perspective and knowledge that they can contribute, so that together, we can reach an informed decision that is best for every member of the PUSD community.

If we can show the Board how much these positions mean to the students, we can better inform their solutions as to where to make cuts. And likewise, through conversations with staff, administration, and the Board, we can learn more about the financial situation of our district.

Scan the QR code in this article to sign the petition for preserving our librarian and other key positions on our campus. If you want your voice to have an even greater impact, please write a few sentences about the differences that these positions have made for you.

If we stand up right now and meet this challenge with action, we will guarantee a future that works better for us. Bulldogs fight - now is our time.