Cuts prompt teachers' march to Sacramento

March 18, 2010 11:11:23 PM PDT
More marches and rallies will head to Sacramento over budget cuts to education throughout the state. Education advocates are not suggesting education should be spared in order to cut other vital services. The strategy now is to continue with these marches and rallies across California, but also support solutions to the budget crisis.

The solidarity displayed against budget cuts to education earlier this month, led to a march which started the following day in Bakersfield, has continued through the Central Valley, and which will end on April 21 in Sacramento.

It's basically the same route followed by labor leader Cesar Chavez when he called for better wages for migrant workers. They want to convince lawmakers education spending should be at the top of their agenda.

"A lot of them are in the Central Valley, not only Republican but conservative Democrats who think their population doesn't want to spend the government money on social services and education," Gus Goldstein from the American Federation of Teachers said.

On Thursday, several teachers, students and union representatives met to discuss what to do next to convince lawmakers to restore funding for education.

City College of San Francisco will suspend summer classes in order to save $4 million. This way, courses in the fall and spring will not be interrupted.

About 3,000 students and faculty are headed to Sacramento on Monday.

"Overcrowded classrooms, classrooms that are being cut," City College student Jordan Towers said.

These education advocates support the California Democracy Act, which calls for lowering the two-thirds requirement to pass a state budget and taxes.

They are also behind taxing companies for the oil they pump in the state. That money would go to fund higher education.

Megan Caluza is a teacher at El Dorado Elementary School in San Francisco. Two-thirds of the teachers at her school received pink slips.

"We're not willing to give up the fight. This is a fight worth fighting and we're going to continue to fight until we do what is right for these children," she said.

More than 23,000 teachers in California face layoffs. A few communities are already talking about supporting a parcel tax to raise money in order to save some of these jobs -- if they are not rescinded.


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