An estimated 4,000 teachers, school employees, and parents will gather at the state capitol on Monday for the Texas AFT Lobby Day and Community Rally. The event is traditionally held the first day of spring break during legislative sessions, but the numbers coming this year are triple the usual crowd.
“We have a record number of school employees committed to the rally, with Dallas alone busing in 900 people, so get ready to hear them roar,” said Linda Bridges, Texas AFT president. “I think it’s pretty clear that the cuts-only approach embraced by some of the state leadership isn’t cutting it with the teachers and parents who understand what it would mean to try to educate our kids with drastically reduced resources.”
Also unique to the event this year will be the participation of hundreds of parents, members of other unions, and school-board trustees who are helping to carry the message that a balanced approach is needed to balance our state budget.
Monday’s day of conversations with lawmakers and noontime rally will come two days after thousands gather for the Save Texas Schools rally. “This wave is going to keep rising, and lawmakers will know that millions of Texans stand behind our kids, because they are our future,” Bridges said.
The message brought to the capitol on Monday will echo Texas AFT’s petition on www.txcandobetter.org, which asks lawmakers to:
• Save thousands of teachers’ jobs, pre-K funding, and other crucial public education services by taking a balanced approach to balancing the state budget, rather than relying on cuts alone. Texas can do better for our kids and our future.
• Use the $9.4 billion Rainy Day Fund, a self-replenishing stabilization fund meant to meet service needs in tough economic times.
• Maximize federal assistance, such as the Education Jobs Act money—$830 million for retaining teachers in Texas. Legislators should work with the governor NOW to complete the steps needed to obtain the money.
• Close unproductive tax loopholes, explore new revenue sources, fund schools equitably and fix the structural deficit that leaves our state billions of dollars short each year.
The rally will be at noon on the south steps of the state capitol. All are welcome…whether you’re a Texas AFT member, a non-member, a school employee, parent, or just a citizen concerned about public education.