Eastside Catholic High School students skip "skip day" to save teachers

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by KYLE MOORE / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 18, 2010 at 7:34 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 18 at 8:35 AM

 

SAMMAMISH, Wash. -Two hundred Eastside high school students skipped senior "skip day" to try and save their teachers' jobs.

Monday morning, Eastside Catholic High School seniors staged a silent sit-in in the courtyard to protest the lay-off of up to 15 teachers and faculty members.

"We wanted to get our message heard," said senior A.J. Rehn.

The Bellevue student was one of 30 who walked out of class this morning. Soon others joined in.

"More and more kids showed up, and pretty soon, it grew from thirty to 200 kids." says Rehn.

Some students posted their pictures on the CNN website I Report. Others started a Facebook page to try and spare the painful cuts.

School officials sent out a letter to parents stating "difficult economic times" have forced the private school of about 850 students to cut staff. According to President and head of the school, Sister Mary E. Tracy, most of the staff will remain but "some faculty have not been offered contracts at this time." Tracy cites declining enrollment and a need to balance the budget.

Eastside Catholic School spokesperson Patti Finley says " The budget hasn't been finalized" but the school is looking to lay-off anywhere between 10-15 teachers and faculty members.

Finely says "some of these teachers may be re-hired as soon as the budget is finalized."

Tracy wrote that while we "regret" not being able to offer all the contracts to current teachers, the school will help them find other jobs.

"We know financially it's hard," says Rehn. He says the teachers being cut are well liked," one of them won teacher of the year. They laid off phenomenal teachers."

Rehn felt the sit-in got the attention of school administrators and made a difference.

"I think it was good," Rehn said. "We could voice our opinions and if we save a few teachers that would be fantastic"

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