By Howard Blume|Los Angeles Times|March 31, 2011|10:14 a.m.
Parents, students and teachers demonstrated at two schools Thursday morning, protesting looming layoffs and cuts to arts programs, foreign-language courses and magnet programs.
One demonstration involved students and parents in the magnet program for gifted students at Vena Avenue Elementary in Arleta.
Cuts approved by the Los Angeles Board of Education include eliminating magnet coordinators. The school district plans to turn over the running of these magnets to other school administrators, which parents and teachers say would be a disaster.
"It obviously cannot function without a magnet coordinator," said parent Anna Fox. "You wouldn't remove a principal from a school. Why would you remove a magnet coordinator? Our program is unique and special."
At Thursday's protest, children chanted "Save Our Magnet!" and about 30 participants hoisted white, green and yellow signs. Some parents kept students out of the San Fernando Valley school in protest.
Teachers organized a demonstration at the Santee Education Complex, a high school south of downtown. They set up 18 empty chairs in front of the school entrance to symbolize 18 teachers notified they could be laid off as of June 30.
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