Teachers urge voters to support them

May 13, 2009 6:05:02 PM PDT
Thousands of teachers staged dozens of rallies across the state Wednesday protesting budget cuts and urging voters to support the propositions on the ballot for next week's special election.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

The Day of the Teacher is an annual event, but this year the chants, the signs and message are clearly aimed at next week's special election. For teachers the after school protest has a political message for people to vote yes on May 19.

"It is absolutely critical that these propositions pass in order to fund the school districts. You cannot run a school district on hopes and promises," said Kathy Lair, a laid off teacher.

The budget crisis already resulted in 27,000 teachers receiving layoff notices in March. Many of those are now being rescinded, but more cuts are on the horizon. When the governor was in San Jose on Tuesday he says schools deserve to be paid back when the economy recovers.

"Proposition 1B is very briefly to pay back $9.3 billion in education because we have cut education $10 billion already," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).

Second grade teacher Lillian Vargas puts on a brave face for her students, but it isn't easy. Thanks to federal stimulus money and the district's reserve Lillian's March pink slip was rescinded. Regardless, the worsening budget crisis means San Jose United School District could lose another $18 million in funding.

"The cuts are going to be devastating to our students and it breaks my heart just to think about it," says Vargas.

With the election less than a week away, teachers are hoping to influence voters. Right now, the propositions are trailing in the polls.

"If these initiatives do not pass, were going to lose more. The cuts are going to be deeper and all that is going to do is hurt kids and hurt communities," says Dean Vogel from the California Teachers Association.

In an unprecedented move, the governor on Thursday is going to release two versions of his revised budget, one if the propositions pass and there is $15 billion in cuts, and one if they don't and there is $21 billion.

Officials in the Mt. Diablo School District are banking on the state budget propositions passing as well. They're hoping that Props 1A and 1B pass Tuesday, along with a parcel tax to help them bring back at least some of the 413 teachers who were laid off last Tuesday night.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments