Even a Teacher of the Year plaque couldn’t save Michelle Apperson’s job.
The teacher at Sutterville Elementary School in Sacramento, Calif., was notified that she will be laid off following the school year due to budget cuts, Sacramento’s News 10 KXTV reported. Apperson was a nine-year veteran of the school and this year was named Teacher of the Year for the entire district
“It hurts on a personal level because I really love what I do,” Apperson told News 10. “But professionally, politically, I get why it happens.”
The district contended that it is not their discretion who is fired—the process is mandated by state law, said Gabe Ross, spokesman for the Sacramento City Unified School District.
“It’s an awful situation,” Ross told News 10. “It’s another sign of how education’s funding really needs an overhaul.”
The district is in the midst of cutting $43 million from its budget, with another $100 million being cut in the past four years.
Apperson’s firing was met with dismay from students and anger from parents. Some students even wrote letters to show their reaction to the situation, WABF reported.
“Dear Ms. Apperson,” one letter starts, “I will miss you dearly. I will never forget you! You are the best teacher ever. I am very lucky that you are my teacher!”
Nationwide, an estimated 33,500 teaching jobs have been lost since September, an analysis by the Washington Post found. The situation has been particularly bad in California, which has dealt with budget deficits and made deep cuts to the teacher ranks in recent years. In March more than 20,000 teachers were delivered pink slips for the coming school year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.