WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION) Local community members and staff from the Pajaro Valley School District came together to protest cuts to programs.
The Pajaro Valley School District announced they will be making cuts to special education programs at Ohlone Elementary School.
They will no longer offer the Life Skills program, one of the only programs in the southern district which teaches essential skills like counting and reading for children with disabilities.
They're also cutting the position of Alejandra Revilla-Rico, a Resource Specialist at Ohlone. She says that these cuts could have consequences down the line and make all the difference in a child's academic advancement.
"What I see happening in the future is that the students who are in gen ed, who have learning disabilities or other disabilities, they won't be identified timely," says Rico.
PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez says the school has seen a reduction in children, resulting in the changes in the program, but Rico says she's never seen a reduction in the need for special education.
“I've been working in Ohlone for 12 years. I've never seen the number of recommendations or referrals to initials for special ed evaluations go down," says Rico.
Most of the people that live within the district are farmworkers, mainly low-income with limited education. Many teachers fear that parents are unaware of what is happening. They say they are here advocating for them.
"It's hard for the cuts to come in the south zone because the parents aren't able to advocate for their students and what they need so their services get cut first," says Stacey Dittrich, a speech pathologist at Ohlone.