West Contra Costa Unified School District Board to cast final vote on eliminating essential educators

Board’s plan would have a devastating impact on English Learner students and children from immigrant families

For Immediate Release
March 12, 2019  

Contact: Veronica Diaz, (831) 840-33966; VDiaz@ibt856.org                   

Richmond, Calif. – In December, West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Superintendent Matt Duffy made a proposal to the Board of Education to cut graduate tutors.

The Board decided to form an audit committee to review the District’s contracts with outside consultants and organizations before making a final decision about graduate tutors.

WCCUSD spends over $30 million on outside vendors and consultants. The 16.4% of the general fund WCCUSD spends on consultants, contractors and management salaries is second only to Oakland Unified when compared to comparable school districts.

The Board is scheduled to take its final vote on whether to cut graduate tutors at its meeting on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. in the DeJean Middle School Multipurpose Room (3400 Macdonald Ave., Richmond). Graduate tutors and supporters will begin to rally at 5:30 p.m.

Graduate tutors are essential educators who work in school classrooms and learning centers with students who have fallen behind academically and need extra, small group or individualized support to keep up with their peers.

Many WCCUSD graduate tutors work closely with students who recently immigrated to the United States and students whose first language is one other than English. Graduate tutors are often the one resource in the school to teach these students how to read, write, and speak English, to prepare them to learn in a classroom setting.

With nearly 34% of students enrolled in a WCCUSD school falling into the English Learner category, eliminating graduate tutors could have a devastating impact on at least one in every three students.

“Thanks to his [a graduate tutor] work, our son is learning and is getting ahead, little by little,” wrote one parent about their child’s work with a WCCUSD graduate tutor (the parent’s words have been translated from Spanish to English). “He puts in a lot of effort and is very attentive to our children so that they advance every day and keep moving forward instead of staying stuck because they don’t understand the English language. He also keeps us informed day to day about what happens with our children and how we can help at home.”

“Ms. Zamora [a graduate tutor] has supplemented my teaching by heading small groups, pulling individuals and bridging the language gap for my Spanish speakers and families,” wrote a WCCUSD elementary school teacher.

“Ms. Tent help me a lot,” wrote a tenth-grade student of Graduate Tutor Verena Tent. “Because of her today many students are speaking English and learning more […] It’s so bad if she go because in the school there is so many student will lose.”

These words are snapshots from three of the over 130 letters from students, staff, teachers, and parents in support of maintaining graduate tutors—many of which are featured in “If they leave, who will help us? — Who will lose if the WCCUSD Board eliminates Graduate Tutors”.

The report and more information are available at www.StopGradTutorCuts.com.

The WCCUSD community of staff, teachers, parents, and students will rally at the Board meeting on March 20th to make a final push to urge the district to save these essential educators from elimination.  The ask: Vote to save graduate tutor jobs. Instead, make cuts outside of school classrooms and learning centers.

More details can be found at www.StopGradTutorCuts.com.

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Founded in 1949, Teamsters Local 856 represents more than 12,000 hardworking members in the San Francisco Bay Area, North Bay, Sacramento, and Central Valley communities