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The Gamut

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Oxford Academy teachers speak on the AUHSD layoffs

In response to the mass RIFs, The Gamut reached out to elevate teacher voices on a deeply sensitive matter that affects them most. These do not reflect the opinions of the entire staff, and teachers should be respected for their opinions. 


Mr. Morris (English 7H, English 1H)

“What are your general thoughts on the district-wide layoffs?”

“This is a really stressful and tremendously sad situation that we’re going through right now. I understand first of all that our district has lost a lot of students, and there are economic implications that happen as a result of this. But I think my concern, and many of the other teachers’ concerns, is that all the cutbacks are being done on the backs of teachers. They are saying, ‘well, we need to make sacrifices. You guys, keep sacrificing. And it’s not enough that we spend money on our own supplies, we come in, we stay extra hours. We really do this because we love it, first of all, but also, that they’re now telling us that ‘well, we have a budget problem. You guys figure it out.’ And there have been zero cutbacks from admin, as far as we know, and it just doesn’t seem equitable or fair in any way that this is the approach that AUHSD is going to [take] in taking care of their students.”

“How will these layoffs affect not just teachers’ livelihoods, but Oxford Academy and its students as a whole?”

“It’s going to be terrible, in my opinion. There’ll be new teachers here, and I’m sure they’ll be good. But I don’t think it’s a good thing when you have people who have gotten to know you so personally over the years, particularly as the kids get older. I’m someone who frequently teaches 7th grade through 12th, so I get to know people for six years. And there’s a lot of conversations and meaningful moments, and that can’t be easily replaced. We’re not disposable. I think you’re going to see a lot less clubs offered on campus. I think we’re going to see the quality of the classes offered to you consistently getting shipped to the community college. So that the school can say, ‘we’re offering you classes. Go up to Cypress College.’ This is a high school, when are we going to be the ones who say, ‘hey, we signed up to be teachers. When do we get to teach?’ I don’t think we should be exporting our jobs on a regular basis to college professors because ‘this is the best thing we have.’ I also think that it speaks very poorly of the 5 C’s; it comes off as very hollow and insincere about ‘we’re so concerned about caring and compassion.’ But the reality is, it’s built nothing like that, specifically for some of the people not at this school but at our district. The impression I’m getting is not one that is warm, welcoming, or accommodating in any way.”


Mrs. Muench-Casanova (AP US History)

General statement: “Teachers serve as the backbone of our schools, playing an indispensable role in the success of every program, club, and extracurricular activity. It’s disheartening to witness education consistently relegated to a secondary priority in budgetary decisions, even at the state and federal level. Cutting teaching positions as the initial response to financial constraints is a misguided approach. Teachers are invaluable assets, and safeguarding their roles is essential for nurturing the future of our students and society.”


Mrs. Worthington (Precalculus P, Integrated Math 1-2H)

“What was your initial reaction to the district-wide layoffs?”

“Surprised. It’s a huge number of teachers. It feels very sudden, even though they know what their budget has been over the years, and they anticipated this coming, so it’s kind of a shock that they would jump to such a high number of teachers.”


Mr. Douthat (Math 8H, Integrated Math 1-2H, Integrated Math 2-3H)

“What is your perspective on the district’s final verdict to pass the RIFS?

“I went to the board meeting, and it sounded like they were listening respectfully to the kids. But I had a feeling that they’d already made up their mind and pretty much nothing was gonna change it. I was disappointed they did not give more explanation as to why they had to only lay off teachers and why they did not give us more advanced warning about who would be included, like what departments, beforehand. That was a disappointment.”

“How do you feel the RIFs will specifically affect Oxford but also across our district?”

“I think at both Oxford and across the district, it’s going to be bad for the morale of the teachers and the students. From a teacher standpoint, it’s like, even after years and years of service, they still notified people that might’ve had twenty years of service, or sometimes even more. So everybody feels like, ‘oh my, they don’t really care about anybody as far as how long they’ve been here and the work that they do.’ And from a student’s perspective, they have now seen how the way the process has worked and they see how little respect that the board and the cabinet of the district have for the teachers. [I] think that’s going to hurt morale district-wide.”

“How do you feel the district could have approached the declining enrollment instead?

“For one thing, they could have been distributed among more employees than just the teachers. But also, they’ve known about this for a long time. They’ve known about the declining enrollment, and even in the meeting they said how ‘oh, we’ve gotten lucky because we’ve got other sources of funding, and we just pushed it down the road.’ But during that time when they were pushing it down the road, they could’ve done a much better job of planning, how they were actually gonna roll out the layoffs, and to inform people ahead of time what departments are likely to be affected. So if people had the opportunity to get another credential, they could also get into that other credentialed area and be able to save their job. Then they would’ve had years to do it. Because I knew about this, and they knew about this declining enrollment and impending layoffs for five years, if not more. And so they could have given that opportunity to the teachers to get credentialed in other areas so they could save their jobs.”

“President Randle-Trejo said that ‘I’m disappointed because there was partial information. Like if you knew what we knew, you’d make the same decision,’ is basically what she was saying. But then […] why didn’t they let us know the same thing that they know? Right after that, she said, ‘the students have received a lot of misinformation,’ implying that the teachers were the ones giving them the information and that’s why the students were all down there rallying, which is totally made up on her part. [That’s] where she went way over the line, I think.”


Mr. Hodges (English 1H, AP English Language and Composition) 

What are your general thoughts on the district-wide layoffs?

“It seems logical that it should be a combination of positions [getting cut]. They’re exclusively laying off teachers and there’s probably plenty of people’s livelihoods being affected. It might be eagerly simplistic to just say, ‘alright, we’re just gonna cut staff and not consider reducing staff in the district.’ […] People who have been in the district for nearly 20 years — seven years, I was doing community college — it’s unfortunate that because of circumstances like seniority, we are subject to potentially losing our jobs. I want to keep my job, but [the RIFs] have to be equitable and make the ends meet. It should have been more balanced in how it happened as for reaching the goal they need to reach for the budget.”

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Your donation will support the student journalists of Oxford Academy. Your contribution will allow us to cover our website hosting for the 2024-2025 school year. Thank you for your support!

About the Contributors
Haley Nguyen
Haley Nguyen, Editor in Chief
Haley Nguyen is a M.I.D. (majestic, intelligent, and delicious) junior and is going into her third year of Gamut. For this 2023-2024 school year, she will be Gamut’s A&E editor as “it’s more interesting than the other sections” and is looking forward to getting to know the new additions to the Gamut family. Haley is also involved in Key Club and VSA (Vietnamese Student Association), which she danced for at the annual International Show. Aside from school, she is super big on typology such as MBTI and is an ENFP, a Word Hunt Fiend, and a chronic afterschool napper. Her prized possession is her light blue HydroFlask, which you might see her carrying around. Although it’s dented, can’t stand up straight, has a hole at the bottom, and more, she treasures it as it’s been with her through thick and thin since seventh grade.
Zoharys Jaen
Zoharys Jaen, Lifestyle Editor

Dedicated, hardworking, aggressively extroverted, and perhaps optimistic to a detriment, Zoharys Jaen is in her Senior year at Oxford and has been a member of Gamut staff since the 9th grade. First joining due to encouragement from her English teacher Ms. Galvan,  along with being interested in a chance for her work to be published and printed, she now serves as Gamuts Lifestyle editor. Though looking to constantly keep herself busy, she still finds free time to indulge in reading and watching romantic comedies which include the number 10 in their title, such as “10 Things I Hate About You” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” Zoharys both plays and listens to music, her mastered instruments including both the piano to ukulele, and music taste ranging from Classical to K-pop. Her other assorted hobbies and interests include but are not limited to knitting, baking and reading poetry.

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