AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth teachers may be frozen out of one of the most important days in the legislature’s special session to address funding issues.
The teachers have to be in class Monday for an unscheduled work day to make up for days lost during snow and ice storms during Super Bowl week.
Monday is also the same day teachers plan to rally in Austin and the Texas Senate could address school funding bills. The Fort Worth teachers association, the United Educators Association, is urging the teachers to use electronic means to have their voices heard.
So teachers are flooding the inboxes of Texas legislators in a last ditch effort to avoid a $4 billion cut in education spending.
Steven Pool with the Fort Worth United Educators Association is one of those organizing the attempt to persuade legislators to spare education when cutting the budget. He is planning rallies when teachers are out of school next week. But they’ve got an electronic game plan in place right now.
“Back in the day it was always hand writing a letter, or picking up a phone and using a rotary dial to get down to Austin,” said Pool. “Right now it’s easy to compose an email, hit send and make sure your voice is heard.”
Facing stiff opposition to derailing the state’s plans to cut and reform education spending, State Senator Wendy Davis (D – Fort Worth) sees these emails as her best hope at turning the tide on education cuts, but she still needs a groundswell of teacher support.
“Unfortunately, our teachers are still teaching through the end of this week,” Sen. Davis said. “But I expect we will be seeing a lot from them after that.
With time working against them, organizations are now pushing to flood legislative email boxes. The groups have posted information so no matter where their members are they know who their representatives are and how to contact them. They’ve even planned a virtual town-hall meeting to allow teachers direct access to Davis.
The UEA and other teachers associations have crafted an online quick alert system they are now putting into play. Pool said they have been working on the system for six months.
“It’s very much an uphill battle,” Pool said. “Right now we’re standing at about a four billion dollar loss to public schools across the state of Texas. So the more phone calls the more emails people can send it’s important for our legislators to hear.”