Texas Teachers Rally At Rotunda Against School Cuts

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – More than 200 Texas Schoolteachers crowded around the rotunda of the Texas Capitol yet again to protest against education spending cuts.

They demonstrated Monday afternoon to bring pressure on the Legislature to reject proposals to slash state funding obligations to school districts by nearly $4 billion.

They chanted “we will vote you out” Monday to pressure lawmakers to reject proposals to slash state funding obligations to school districts.

The teachers led by the American Teacher’s Federation have become mostly resigned to the Republican-controlled Legislature passing the funding cuts in the special session. Now, they’re aiming their ire on GOP legislative candidates in next year’s elections.

The group will also do a statewide push for teachers to call their lawmakers in the afternoon to give them the message to fully fund schools.

Texas Federation of Teachers President Linda Bridges says teachers are making “one last hard push for us doing right by the kids in this state.”

Groups of teachers who have protested at the Capitol all spring have become mostly resigned to the Republican-controlled Legislature passing the funding cuts in the special session. Now, they’re aiming their ire on GOP legislative candidates in next year’s elections, when they hope to punish lawmakers who pushed the cuts.

KRLD’s Emily Trube Reports from Dallas’ AFT headquarters:

“What they really need to do is reverse these cuts as proposed that will really hurt schools,” said Bridges.  That means using the state ‘rainy day fund.’

The Senate passed the cuts Friday, and the full Texas House is expected to take them up early this week. The bill is necessary to balance the state budget, but Democrats have fought the cuts while lawmakers have nearly $10 billion in state reserve funds available to them.

Some Dallas teachers left Monday morning for the day of protests and lobbying. Other teachers couldn’t make the trip but still had their voices heard in Austin.

Patti Villarreal is a seventh grade English teacher in Northwest Independent School District.

She wanted to go to Austin to let lawmakers know she and other teachers don’t want them to cut school funding so drastically, but the mother of two couldn’t make it because school and her children are out for the summer break.

“We’ve got soccer camp, marimba camp, how am I going to do this?” she said.

Instead, she joined teachers from across the state on a teleconference with Sen. Wendy Davis (D – Fort Worth) and Representative Pete Gallegos (D – Alpine).

The telephone town hall meeting was organized by the American Federation of Teachers.

“It’s a call to reach out and communicate with educators across Texas,” Davis said. “Number one, to let them know we are here to support them. Number two, to seek their feedback and input on the decisions that are being made here in the Legislature right now.”

Some teachers could only attend the teleconference because they had work. In Fort Worth ISD, Monday was a make-up day for bad weather.

But the teleconference was a way those absent from Austin could still have their voices heard, Villarreal said.

“We love our jobs that’s the reason we’re teachers,” she explained. “We’re very passionate about our students and our jobs, and I can’t imagine us just laying down and saying ‘okay y’all just do whatever’ and not standing up for our students.”

So through the power of a cell phone, Villarreal and other teachers could still have a direct dialogue with those who hold her future, and her children’s, in the balance.

If the House does not modify the bill passed by the Senate, it will go to Gov. Rick Perry for his approval.

The bill has to be approved in order to balance the state budget.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


One Comment

  1. RussP says:

    They need to start rallying around their own administration offices demanding that money that could be going to teaching the kids stop being wasted on ridiculous administration expenses. Hinijosa was getting $400,000 while on the job, now he’ll be getting $200,000 as a retirement benefit. As long as money is going to be wasted that way, the state is correct in cutting billions from the school budgets.

  2. Primetime Editorials says:

    stop the cuts stop the cuts stop the cuts
    fight on teachers
    dont stop

  3. StopDISD.org says:

    Russ P ~ We’re with you!

    We need to rally at DISD’s Head Quarters! DISD wasted our tax dollars on Mr. Hinojosa’s salary and Millions of tax dollars were wasted on remodeling schools like O.M. Roberts only to turn around and destroyed them. DISD will waste another 22 million to build a new O.M. Roberts school. And in addition to the reckless demolition of a school a community will be forever changed so, DISD can put in parking lots in between remaining homes! DISD seized or should we say stole the homes for their twisted parking lot plan. That is a waste! Neighborhoods consists of homes not parking lots!

    We must demand better education, better compensation for our teachers and preservation of schools and neighborhoods!

    Danger, Danger Dallas ISD lies, cheats, steals and conceals all their dirty deals no newsreels to reveal so surreal.

    Their stealin’ and being sneaky boy it’s been creepy! It can make you dizzy and sleepy but, we got them up in a tizzy. See they have a heart of stone, and won’t leave us alone invading our schools and homes!

    To learn more visit http://www.StopDISD.org or StopDISD on Facebook

    Click on the link below to view Satire Video on DISD’s Land Grab

  4. Republican says:

    The administrators aren’t taking the brunt of this. We are projected to lose in the neighborhood of 100,000 teachers because of this. That means your children will be in overcrowded classrooms. That means those challenged children will be in mainstream classrooms with YOUR child. When that special needs child absorbs the majority of the teacher’s attention, who will be teaching your child? No one. The first cuts school districts made were in special programs for special needs children. Now the classrooms will be taught to the lowest common denominator. This legislature just committed homicide on our children’s future.

    Signed, a lifelong Republican voter who will not be making that same decision in 2012.

    1. RussP says:

      This is just the reason voters need to be screaming at the over paid superintendents and the elected school boards, instead of cutting waste and reducing unneeded administrative staff; they’re cutting teachers.

    2. RussP says:

      The legislature is making the budget cuts because the tax payer money is not a bottomless well but they are not the ones cutting teachers or programs. Those decisions are being made by the over paid superintendents and the elected school boards. Put money back into the job of teaching the kids and not funding ridiculous administrative pays and pension plans, meals and daycare for kids of dead beat parents and things like sports and band that only serve a limited group of students.

  5. Reeper says:

    Seems like the teachers are only thinking of themselves and not the children.
    That or they are not educated enough to know the true source of the problem-high cost of administration, school boards, and wasteful spending on things like sports, music, etc. which should only be paid for by the parents or community via fund raisers and not taxes.

    1. RussP says:

      I don’t think it’s that the teachers are only thinking of themselves, they may just not have the courage to shout at the people they should be mad at, the school boards and administrators they work for who are wasting funds and making cuts in the wrong areas. The tax payers and the state legislature that represents them are the wrong target.

  6. Katie Roberta Stevens says:

    In my mind, no other group of professionals should be paid more than teachers. My brothers and sisters and I grew up on welfare, with a mentally ill mother and an absentee father. When we were teens and my mother was committed again and again to mental institutions, we had to steal food, clothing and toiletries to survive. Yet, today, we have all broken the cycle of poverty and abuse for ourselves and our children. How? We had exceptional teachers. They didn’t just dispense facts. Instead, they provided opportunities for us to confirm our self worth. Money is not what is needed to improve education. Making it possible for caring, competent teachers to make a meaningful connection with EVERY child in the classroom makes all the difference. A high school teacher’s few positive comments scribbled in my weekly journal were enough to sustain me for a week. Soon, one week led to another and before I knew it, I was graduating from college. This magical connection in the classroom can never be measured by a standardized test. Today, I have my own business, life on the beach in Fl, have a son who is a college graduation and employed. Teachers, I owe you my life.

  7. RussP says:

    There are two opposing issues when it comes to teacher pay. The positive is that is a very important job and needs to compensated well. The negative is that as opposed to a full time worker putting in 2000 hours a year (40 hours X 50 weeks), a teacher typicall does about 1350 hours (36 weeks X 40 hours). So take a good full time salary in corporate America and pro rate it down about 30% and you have a fair teachers salary.

    1. RussP says:

      I’ve got to quit typing these things while talking to someone on the phone. Too many errors.

Comments are closed.

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