East Side Union High School Proposes $23 Million Budget Cut

An Educator's Letter to the Board

Editor's Note:

A $23 million budget cut to the East Side Union High School District is causing much alarm that the proposal has been kept so internal. Students, teachers and supporters are spreading the word and organizing to attend Thursday's board meeting. Here's one educator's message to the board.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to the district due to the community’s concerns regarding the 23-million-dollar budget cut that has been proposed for the East Side Union High School District. This cut aims to remove/pink slip 26 Advisors and 24 Counselors, along with what little Librarians, Subject Area Coordinators, and Athletic Directors the East Side has, will critically affect the future of these students. As an alumnus, I saw and felt first-hand the difficulties of going to a school that’s in dire need of resources. James Lick for example, has this new building full of life because of the people who work inside that building. Every day, I see students going in there to talk to their counselors or directors thus creating a community.

This community is co-constructed by the staff and the students, something that the East Side has cultured as generations come and go. The fact that this community is at risk of getting broken up because of finances is outraging. It’s outraging because MONEY is being PRIORITIZED over the WELL-BEING of these kids. Everywhere I go I talk high and mighty about the ESUHSD. The amount of work that the Advisors, Counselors, and Teachers do for their kids is above and beyond. There are educators here who just started and now they’re at risk of losing what they worked hard to get. These cold-hearted actions are detrimental to the kids and the future of the educators.

If you decide to let go of teachers who focus on the Arts, that alone sends a message of oppression to the kids. Arts, theatre, and dance classes are outlets of creativity and imagination. They serve as fundamentals for growth and perspective that adequately prepares kids for higher education or the work force but most importantly, it lets the kids be heard and seen. Throughout their days they’re in class listening to academia’s standards of what education is, yet academia and the kids don’t relate. As they go about their routine and an Arts class rolls around, their mind is free to roam and venture out as far they want to go, stimulating their mind. If you decide to take away these resources, from a place that already lacks resources as it is, you’re forcing these kids into a bubble and burying them into a deeper abyss.

Instead of breaking up this community within the East Side Union High School District, let’s work together with the schools and the parents to prioritize our kids… these kids are the future and they deserve to get the same kind of resources as other schools in San José. Let us not forget who we’re here to serve, it isn’t us nor the parents, it’s the well-being of the kids and educators here on the East Side.

-Alberto Camacho 

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