It was a day of action, as thousands of people across Texas rallied against cuts to the state education budget, including hundreds right here in the Hub City. The Texas State Teachers Association started off with speeches from several board members: "it'll hit our students because of overcrowding in our classes, if you don't loose your job as a teacher then your going to have a harder job as a teacher ahead of you" they state about the possible cuts.
The Texas State Teachers Association organized the day of action urging lawmakers not to cut kids out of the picture. Similar rallies were held in 20 communities across the state Saturday. Governor Perry and House leaders have approved the use of $3.2 billion, but those opposing the cuts say it's just not enough. The association wants the legislature to use all of the Rainy Day Fund's $9.4 billion to make up for what public schools anticipate losing if the current House Bill passes in Austin.
"We feel it is an emergency. It is something that the rainy day fund should be used for with the budget crisis. I never thought we would see this here in Texas with so many new students coming to town every year we have to do something," said Clinton Gill with the Texas State Teachers Association.
LISD has already cut 87 positions due to the budget shortfall. "We're also hurting our kids with special needs and zeroing out money for them and that's just not acceptable," Texas State Teachers Association President Rita Heacker says.
Kim Davenport showed up to show her support to the Texas State Teachers Association because she fears the cuts in more than one way, she's a middle school teacher and the mother of a student in the special education program. "These cuts and funding problem effect me in every aspect of my life as my profession, my children, their education, and therefore our future" Davenport says. She has been teaching in the public education system for twenty years and next year her daughter will be in high school needing special education support. She is worried that the cuts will take opportunities away from her daughter's high school experience. "It's my kids turn and I think that she deserves it just as well, a quality education. Its very sad" she says.
Student or not, Association President Haeker has some homework for everyone: "Its time for our people to stand together and stand up for our teachers and for our educators."
The rally was held outside Coronado High School Saturday afternoon. The Texas House will resume debate tomorrow over the $164.5 billion, two year state budget proposal for education and human services.