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Plano Teacher Feels Like “Dead Man Walking”

By Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News
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A math teacher uses a white board to explain a sum to students. (credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A math teacher uses a white board to explain a sum to students. (credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Patti Weinbrenner has suffered her share of setbacks.  In 2005, Weinbrenner lost her Richardson home to a massive fire. This week, she suffered yet another setback.

“It’s like a dead man walking. You know that your time is so limited there,” said Weinbrenner

Weinbrenner is one of 344 Plano ISD teachers and other employees who will be laid off at the end of the school year.

“I’m terribly upset by it, because it’s something I’m passionate about.”

The 58-year-old is a communications teacher at Plano senior high. She also coaches the speech and debate team.  But with a state deficit that could linger for years, she now fears her teaching career is over.

“Our superintendent said that some of these teachers may never see the inside of a classroom again and I thoroughly believe that.”

At one point, the seasoned teacher had seniority with the district. She started in 2001, but her house fire changed all that.

After Weinbrenner’s home burned down, she took two years off to build a new one.  When she returned to Plano Senior High in 2008, she lost her seniority.

This wife and mother of three says it’s not about the money, it’s about her students.

“This is my school district. My kids went to school here and I worry because Plano has been exceptional,” said Weinbrenner.  “I don’t know how they can maintain it.”

Weinbrenner considers herself a dead man walking.  But yet, she still believes that she’s brought life to others.  “There are times when you get kids who don’t understand concepts at all and i get to open up a world to them.”

Teachers with the Plano Education Association plan to rally this Saturday morning at the Plano offices of state representative Jerry Madden

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