Tucson vocational programs hit hard by education cuts

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The state's budget includes a cut of over $180 million to education, $29 million of that hit vocational programs. The move means incoming freshmen will not be able to take those classes.

"It's another day of work for Chynel Webb, a senior at Flowing Wells High School.

She's in the Advanced Graphic Design class and loves the program.

"I look forward to this class.  He kind of like shows how to expand our mind and be more creative," said Webb in reference to her teacher.

Teacher Mike Srsen helped implement graphic design into the Joint Technological Education District program at Flowing Wells and was shocked to hear about the cuts.

"Well to be honest I am a little bit nervous I don't know how its going to affect my future the program I have a family at home that I support," said Srsen.

Pima County JTED will receive a more than 50% cut.  To absorb the blow, administrators decided not to allow freshman to take any JTED classes next year.

Classes that include graphic design, culinary arts and automotive technologies.

"We had been being funded for those 9th grade students and all of the sudden, as of next year, we are not going to be getting funding for those students," said Srsen.

This school year there were more than 7,000 freshman in Pima County JTED programs.

Next year their could be a similar number of students interested in the program, unfortunately they won't be able to get in.

"If they don't get into these programs as freshman there probably not or may not be going in as sophomores because they will have limited number of electives," said Superintendent Alan Storm with Pima County JTED.

For Webb who was once a freshman four years ago, not allowing freshman to take classes in the program is not cool.

"There's a lot of freshman that have already signed up for this class, that would be a huge disadvantage to the freshman," said Storm.

The cuts also will mean lay offs for JTED faculty, but administrators have not worked out the exact numbers on that yet.