Calif. teachers begin week-long budget protest

May 9, 2011 6:07:02 PM PDT
Hundreds of teachers from San Francisco and around the state held rallies at the state capitol Monday, to stop further cuts to the education budget. This is the beginning of a week-long protest.

A crowd that marched outside the capitol chanted: "Tax, tax, tax the rich. We can stop this deficit."

California teachers are afraid of what might happen to schools if another $4 billion in cuts go through. Hundreds took vacation or personal days to get their message across -- do not let the temporary taxes expire.

The weeklong education protests and rallies, organized by The California Teachers' Association, put the CHP on alert. More officers were visible on the Capitol grounds than normal. Teachers want Gov. Jerry Brown to get Republicans to agree to extend the temporary taxes without a special election to save education from more cuts.

"I got a layoff notice on March 15 and I'm going to get another layoff notice on May 15. I'm going to be laid off June 30 after eight years working for the district," said Sam Davis, an Oakland Unified teacher.

There were several attempts to do a sit-in inside the Capitol, which is illegal. So far, CHP has given only warnings.

"We will come in and I will issue a disperse order and then we will arrest," said CHP Sgt. Steve Stone.

And, some participating in the sit-in were escorted out, much to the surprise of some protesters.

"They taught us that we had freedom of expression, assembly, freedom of speech," said "Tom", a protester from Santa Cruz.

Then the crowd in the capitol hallways tried to chant: "Save our schools, not the banks." When they didn't stop, several were also escorted out, vowing to come back. Many teachers told ABC7 they are willing to be arrested for their cause.

"When you have a budget that's slashing services, that's laying off 40,000 teachers, that's slashing services to our students, raising class size, that's what's extreme," said David Goldberg, a Los Angeles Unified teacher.

Arrests or not, tax opponents say Republicans are not likely to change their minds and vote for the tax extensions.

"It's not going to change any minds. I think people correctly perceive that they're taxed enough," said Jon Coupal from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Since the state has collected $2.5 billion in extra revenue so far this year, Republicans are pushing to give that to schools, instead of keeping the temporary taxes going.


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