The Cleveland school board unanimously approved a plan to cut $66 million from the district’s budget, putting hundreds of teachers out of work.

“Our children are struggling and we don’t care why, we want them to pass the graduation test, yet we can’t teach them because we’re not there and they don’t know whether we’re gonna be there,” said one teacher who addressed the board.

Parents, teachers and residents spoke out at a Cleveland school board meeting held at Lincoln West High School on Tuesday night.

They were reacting to the school district’s budget plan that will result in laying off 508 teachers and 52 support staff members.

“We’re talking about balancing the budget, for what? You’re not gonna have any students to balance a budget for pretty soon,” the woman added.

“By law, we must balance the budget and we also have absolute responsibility to think about how any budget decision is a best possible investment in children,” said Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon.

Gordon outlined his staff reduction to school board members.

In addition to the layoffs, the plan would also mean shortening the school day for elementary students by 50 minutes and reducing the number of classes like art, music and physical eduction.

“Don’t kid yourself, the students know it.  They are already asking if their teacher is laid off and they’re upset,” said Cleveland Teacher’s Union president David Quolke as he addressed the board.

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