Student News Site of Ruben S. Ayala High School

Bulldog Times

Bulldog Times

Student News Site of Ruben S. Ayala High School

Bulldog Times

Statewide decline in public school enrollment forces teachers to acquiesce in reassignment

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Hannah Luu
Mr. Wilcox accompanied Canyon Hills drumline students to the Dark Sky’s 2023 home show at Corona High School. He still teaches drumline at Canyon Hills and Ayala to stay involved with the students of his old middle school and high school. Pictured left to right: Eve Vogel Evangelista (9), Raina Lee (9), Wesley Yim (9), Annika Lim (8), Dean Chiu (9), Alyssa Mao (9), Cindy Liu (9), Rayen Cheng (9), Jaiden Rivas (9), Hannah Luu (9), Xindi You (9), Maksim Agars (9), Eric Wilcox, Mikayla Mendiola

For the past two decades, California has had drops in K-12 enrollment following a consistent pattern every year up until 2020 when COVID-19 hit. The pandemic year saw a drastic 0.67% decline in enrollment—an exodus of 39,696 students. This trend is projected to continue upwards of an 11.4% decrease or a 703,000 student loss by 2031.

Mr. Eric Wilcox, a former Integrated Math 2 Honors and Integrated Math 3 teacher, had taught for only one year at Ayala before he was involuntarily transferred due to the incoming freshman class being unable to fill rosters. With the surplus of math teachers, Mr. Wilcox had to be let go since he was the newest addition to the math teacher team. He now teaches Math 8, Integrated Math 1, and AVID for seventh graders at Ramona Junior High School.

“I enjoy working at Ramona and I’m excited about the new opportunity,” said Mr. Wilcox. “However, Ayala is kind of a home for me, so it is definitely disappointing to have been moved.”

Mr. Wilcox is an Ayala alumnus and had been a student within the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) from elementary all the way up to high school. The decision for his transfer was simply a matter of bureaucracy as the district allocates a certain number of teachers at each school based on enrollment. If that number is exceeded, then the principal is informed and first asks the staff if anyone wants to transfer or retire. If no one voluntarily resigns, then it comes down to seniority.

Despite no longer being a teacher at Ayala, Mr. Wilcox is still involved with the student body as a drumline instructor and for the Canyon Hills drumline. He has been teaching drumline for seven years now and had done it for six years in junior high and high school. It goes without saying that many of his former students are dismayed that he no longer teaches at Ayala.

“Teachers that are good shouldn’t be getting cut off,” Mr. Wilcox’s former Integrated Math 2 and drumline student Jonah Bondoc (10) said.

Mr. Kevin Brown is another case of reassignment from his position as a World History teacher at Ayala to a World History and U.S. History teacher at Don Lugo. Unlike Mr. Wilcox, his transfer was voluntary and taken in stride. He has been teaching history for five years now at many different schools. Seeing as Mr. Brown is accustomed to moving schools and doesn’t have the same sentimental attachment to Ayala, it was an easy transition.

“I love my new assignment and couldn’t be happier to be here at Don Lugo. I am not upset at leaving Ayala at all as I see myself as working for Chino Valley Unified and they can move me wherever there is a need,” said Mr. Brown.

As this decline looks like it will go on for an indeterminate while, it will also continue to affect employment outlooks for new or aspiring teachers. Subjects such as the one that Mr. Brown teaches at Don Lugo are more competitive or have a higher demand while others are more available. 

“Students who want to teach in the future should definitely do their research on where the jobs are, what kind of jobs are available, and what training is needed to get those jobs,” said Mr. Brown. 

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Kaitlyn Luu, Staff Member
Kaitlyn Luu (10) is a second-year staff writer for the Bulldog Times and looks forward to further contributing to Ayala’s news publication. Kaitlyn decided to join the Bulldog Times to gain some experience in student journalism and improve her writing skills. She aims to gather various perspectives and outlooks from people through covering stories about her peers’ academic and personal lives. Kaitlyn is a third degree black belt in taekwondo and plays the guitar. In her leisure time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to music, as well as other escapist outlets. Her sanctuary and favorite feature of campus is the library where she spends much of her time.
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