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Teachers, students, parents concerned over EPISD scheduling changes

By: Joshua Zuber
EL PASO, Texas -- Parents, students and teachers at Brown Middle School rallied in an effort to keep block scheduling as the district prepares to move all its middle schools to a traditional eight-period schedule.

El Paso Independent School District officials said the move to eight periods would be best for its students.

A community budget meeting will be held Monday evening at Austin High School to discuss the change.

Earlier Monday afternoon, students, parents and teachers rallied against the move in west El Paso. Some signs read that 45 minutes for classes was not enough time.

Officials are considering changing the class schedule from 90 minutes, and they said it's a great opportunity to get more of a variety of classes in a day.

One teacher said the new class time would not be enough to teach the lesson.

"We have science and we have social studies and we have math -- 45 minutes. I'm sorry. We can't do it in 45 minutes," said Lauri Gilson, a sixth-grade math teacher.

A lot of frustration could also be coming from the news that several teachers' positions will be cut at some schools throughout the district. Brown Middle School is losing eight positions as of now.

The reason behind the teacher cuts is due to the drop in enrollment, which then means less money from the state.

EPISD officials have made it clear that no teacher who wishes to stay with the district will be laid off. Rather, they will be placed in other campuses or other jobs around the district for which they are certified and qualified.

One teacher at one of the community meetings about EPISD's budget told KFOX 14 she wants to see more cuts across the board.

"A lot of people would like to see that cuts are being done fairly across the district. Not just in the area of teaching and instruction. But in central office as well," Norma Armijo, an instructional coach at EPISD, said.

One district official says the district is working on that too.

"There are some reductions that are being looked into at central office positions," Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Robert Almanzan said.