A few dozen people gathered outside L.A. Unified's downtown headquarters today to announce a campaign to recall school board president Monica Garcia.
Holding signs that read "Pink Slip for Monica Garcia" and "Stop and Recall Monica Garcia," they spoke out against budget cuts that have slashed adult and early education. They also protested the issuing of more than 11,700 preliminary pink slips to district employees.
"This board president has consistently ignored voices of the community," said Robert Skeels, a public education advocate. "We don't accept these answers...we believe this isn't the way forward for this school district."
Garcia could not be reached for comment, but she issued the following statement:
“I am a firm and strong believer in protecting our children’s education, instead of getting involved in politics that only derail the work we should be doing, I welcome everyone to join me in figuring out how we can work together to serve our children during these hard economic times."
Mary Ann Reyes is one of the adults hit by the hard economic times. She was laid off from her job as a travel agent about a year ago. With only a high school diploma, she had trouble finding work and couldn't afford college courses.
But Reyes was able to improve her skills by taking computer classes at Wilson-Lincoln Community Adult School in Lincoln Heights. She has attended class nearly every day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Her annual fee? $3
"It gave me hope when I got laid off," Reyes said. "Now our school is going to be closed, and it's very heartbreaking. It's not just for myself, I look around and see all the other students..."
Reyes, who is president of the adult school, said there are about 300 students many of whom do not speak English and who rely on the courses to help their kids with homework.
"Even if they raise the price, that's something," Reyes said. "Why take out the whole school? Then there's no second chances."