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RED For ED at the Board Meeting Today

In Solidarity Until All RIF Notices Rescinded
Kyle Torres
RIF Notices(signs)

RIF stands for Reduction In Force. Our District leaders have chosen to let selected teachers go in favor of spending money on technology, research, and facilities, they say. For example, around half a million dollars is being used to fund a program called Teach FX, but that money could provide livelihoods for five teachers. It raises the question of, what matters? 

Signs outside school campuses and on cars, including ours here at Gilbert, show messages that include: HOW CAN WE PUT STUDENTS FIRST IF WE PUT TEACHERS LAST? and AUHSD = UNLIMITED CLASS SIZE and LAYOFFS: TEACHERS 119 DISTRICT OFFICES 0 ADMINISTRATORS 0 AND OTHER STAFF 0, and CAP CLASS SIZE, NOT STUDENT OPPORTUNITY.

Although some teachers’ RIF notices have been rescinded as of last posting (see Brisa Amador article) many still fear for their jobs. Parents, teachers, and students are outraged and have been holding rallies around the district. 

It’s really disturbing to know that only TEACHERS received RIF notices. No staff, administration, or district personnel have received any RIF notices.

There are still eight teachers here at Gilbert awaiting news of their fate. We are a small school community, and we feel this hurts us the most. I spoke with one of our teachers recently, Mr. Torres. He has been a teacher for six years, and this is his first year at Gilbert. 

He said this is not his first time he has been in this situation. He went through this before, six years ago when he was teaching at Brookhurst Jr. High. He said he feels devastated, and confused. “I’m stuck waiting for news. I don’t know if I will be here next year, or have a job at all.”

Mr. Torres teaches math and advises a popular club on campus with another teacher awaiting news, Mr. Nakayama. When I asked Mr. Torres about his class and work here he showed me around his classroom where he creates and sells 3D prints of anything like keychains, coasters, all forms of clothing, stickers, magnets, and more. His classroom is always open at lunch and has enough printers to print. He offers snacks and hygiene products at the back of the classroom for students to use whenever. He’s chill and very open to students and helps them out in either getting into the business of 3D Designing or making stuff out of you’re own creativity.

He spends his money, a lot of  his money, for us to create these types of things and he teaches us so we can get either more involved in it like he is or just have the fun of making something. We can also sell the things we make and make a profit off our designs. If Mr. Torres is forced to leave, all of his equipment leaves with him. This teacher, and this program he has developed is irreplaceable.

Mr. Torres has done so much to make students feel welcome and happy here at Gilbert. He is one of those teachers that students really look up to and rely on. They depend on him being here for them every day. He literally inspires students to want to come to class. Losing a teacher like this would hurt not only the teacher, but all of the students whose hearts he has touched. Families will be hurt by this too.

He explained, “Many students and staff were left stunned as they found out I received the notice and that all the amazing things we do in our club like creating custom shirts, 3D prints, stickers, and more were all being taken away from them. I hope that they reconsider their decisions and place priority on what really matters.”

Mr. Torres said, on behalf of all the teachers who have been enduring this process, “I don’t even know if we are even noticed for our work, or if anyone sees us at all.”

We see you, Mr. Torres, and recognize how awesome you are to also volunteer to go to Steamapalooza this year. He is even fundraising to promote his students’ work. His students, including me, hope for the good news that Mr. Torres, and all our teachers, will have their names removed from the RIF list.

As you can see, the RIF process has created a snowball effect that hurts too many people in our community and it needs to be stopped. There is a Board Meeting tonight at 6:00 PM. Students, including alumni, and teachers and staff from Gilbert and all around the district will be coming out in force to support all the teachers we love.



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About the Contributor
Kyle Torres
Kyle Torres, Staff Writer
My name is Kyle. I'm 18 years old, and I'm a senior here at Gilbert High School. Something about me is I really like to do photography and play guitar in my free time. I'm also really looking forward to graduating and pursuing my career.

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