The East Baton Rouge parish school board approved an operating budget that will cut hundreds of jobs.
A former teacher alongside the president of the East Baton Rouge Parish Association of Educators say they do not agree with the cuts and are saddened for those now out of a job.
Fifteen hundred dollars is how much money a former teacher spent on a copy machine because the school that she was working for did not have the resources.
“It’s a problem across the board and has been for years,” said Lindsey Wesley.
Wesley taught in East Baton Rouge parish for nearly 10 years. She says the copy machine was just one of the things she bought while employed.
“We didn’t have any resources,” Wesley told NBC Local 33. “I spent lots of money on books I spent lot so money on exciting rewards for them to win.”
Sometimes working more than 15 hours a day, Wesley said she refused to let her students suffer because of the school’s lack of funding.
“As much as it was frustrating, I knew that it was beneficial to myself in the classroom and to my students, so it was something that I did,” said Wesley.
“I didn’t like it, but it was necessary.”
Wesley said after nearly a decade as an educator, she resigned due to the long hours, lack of funding and low pay.
“It became difficult to feel like you could be successful and help students,” she said.
“Librarians have been cut, we have classroom teachers that have been cut and principles and assistant principals,” said the president of the East Baton Rouge Parish Association of Educators, Anita Augustus. “Our children are not getting a full rounded education.”
She said the new budget also calls for cuts in other areas and that many teachers are unhappy.
“We will not be able to use as much money for textbooks. We have had a tremendous amount of teachers, especially young ones, who are leaving and going to other states simply because of better working conditions and better funding, said Augustus. “We absolutely need to increase the funding for public education.”
Wesley says that her heart goes out to the educators that were laid off and she hopes that one day, educators and schools get the resources and compensation they deserve.
“I’m heartbroken for them because not only is it an underappreciated profession, it’s one of the hardest,” said Wesley. “To have people laid off that want to be there, even in this climate, is really sad for them and for the students.”