By Steve Patterson
CAMDEN, N.J., (CBS) — The Camden City School District announces plans to lay off more than 200 teachers by the end of the school year.
It’s a move drawing a lot of concern from parents and students.
Eyewitness News reporter Steve Patterson reports from Camden with more on what officials say is a necessary cost cutting move.
“It’s just a shame. It’s a shame for our kids,” says teacher Jacqi Burgos.
Frustration, heartbreak in Camden.
“I’m upset because my heart is in Camden,” says Burgos.
First grade teacher Jacqi Burgos is one of more than 200 Camden School District teachers, who in the last 24 hours, learned they’re being laid off.
Burgos says she’s been teaching here for nine years.
“We’re just a number. We’re just a number,” she says.
In April, nearly 100 Central Office staff and Administrators were laid off.
Last night, the axe came down on teachers: 272 District Employees, 206 in the classroom.
“One of the most difficult decisions a superintendent can make alongside his or her community,” says Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard.
But it is a decision Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard made and announced Monday night to an upset crowd at a public meeting.
“It’s a really difficult conversation. We have found ourselves in a challenging financial circumstance,” says Rouhanifard.
Rouhanifard was appointed to the failing district as part of a state takeover.
He’s nine months in and has now cut hundreds of jobs, facing a $75 million budget shortfall.
“From an instructional perspective, we really, truly believe that the impact will be minimal,” says Rouhanifard.
But Burgos says a man hired to look at her like a number will never see what’s really happening when familiar faces start disappearing.
“When they say ‘it’s all about the kids.’ It’s not all about the kids. It’s all about the money,” she says.