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Tuesday,  March 18 12:01 AM EDT

1,200 Students Laid Off in School Merger

By Brian Briggs

Portland, OR - The school board of the recently merged Eaton and Franklin High Schools announced that 1,200 students would be laid off as part of their cost-cutting measures.

School Superintendent Marisa Fargman said, "We've got a lot of duplication among the students now that the merger is complete. Fifteen homecoming queen candidates is way too many for a district of our size, and 85 nerds is more than our jocks and preps can adequately harass."

"The board was given a mandate by voters last year to reduce class size, reduce expenses and improve test scores. We've satisfied all three goals by targeting the layoffs to our less-gifted students," said Fargman.

The Franklin-Eaton Big Red-Beavers sports teams were also affected by merger. "We ended up with three 'Coach Larrys.' The school debated keeping all three in a rotating schedule, but because of insurance costs, we just kept the one with the shortest criminal record," Fargman explained.

Many students fear this won't be the last round of layoffs. Sophomore Craig Wilkerman helps out in the A-V room and is worried about his job. "I'm relieved I made it through these cutbacks, but there are twelve kids to deliver VCRs to classrooms. I think I might be next to go," lamented Wilkerman.

Ben Humrig was one of the students to get the axe. Humrig said, "I was Class Clown at Eaton, but the kid at Franklin was a Freshman and I'm a Senior. I guess they wanted somebody who would be around for a few more years."

Fargman didn't rule out more cutbacks and said that the board is considering a 1-to-1 student-teacher ratio. "Seventy-three students would really be ideal, but we have an eye on the future when we may hire more teachers," she said.

The board is also looking at combining cafeterias as a source of revenue. "I really think that the synergies between Eaton's Meat Surprise and our Creamy Tuna Casserole will increase revenue. The kids are going to eat this up," said Cafeteria Supervisor, Florence Gabdor.

John Simmons, Principal at Eaton High School, was forced into early retirement, but received a lucrative severance package including the school's pool.

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