PALM DESERT – “We had to face the reality that this is really happening,” says Brian Sakemi, teacher at Ronald Reagan Elementary School.
No job, no income, and a baby on the way –this is the future for first grade teacher Brian Sakemi.
“We couldn’t quite believe it actually happened,” says Sakemi.
Sakemi and his wife are both teachers, and, earlier this year, both received layoff notices. As of June 12th, they’re unemployed. And they’re expecting a baby girl in September. At a time when most would be excited and glowing, their lights went out.
“It was hard to enjoy the pregnancy at first,” says Sakemi. ” We have a lot of extra responsibilities now.”
About 120 teachers within Desert Sands Unified School District got pink slips earlier this year, meaning they’ll be out of work at the end of the school. The affects of the lay offs reach beyond the teachers and the classroom. District leaders say they share the pain, and are doing all they can to best manage budget.
“It’s heartbreaking to remove teachers from the classroom,” says Sherry Johnstone, DSUSD Personnel Services.” It’s a very difficult time.”
Sakemi’s growing family is in the middle of it all , but they remain hopeful. Sakemi is looking for a job in special education, which is a high need area. For his wife, getting laid off may be a blessing in disguise.
“She can stay home with the baby,” says Sakemi. “We are taking it one day at a time and trying to enjoy this special time.”