Susy Solis, NBCDFW.com
Gov. Rick Perry was in Richardson to talk about economic development, but he slipped past teachers, parents and students protesting cuts to education funding.
Students, teachers and parents from two Dallas high schools protested proposed state education cuts outside a hotel where Gov. Rick Perry was speaking Tuesday.
Students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Woodrow Wilson High School chanted "Save our teachers! Save our schools!" in front of the hotel.
Perry spoke about the state's economic development during his keynote speech at a Richardson Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Hyatt Regency. But the dmeonstrators said Perry's priority is on his politics, not education.
"We wanted to make sure he knew we were here as voters," said Patricia Arvantis, the PTSA president at Booker T. Washington High School. "We were down there in Austin, and there were 12,000 of us there, and since he's in our back yard and he didn't show up in Austin, we wanted to see if we could get his attention."
The protesters said they hope their demonstrations will force Perry to make education a priority.
"I want him to release the Rainy Day Fund, access all the federal funding that is available to Texas and give the districts the flexibility they need to make these hard decisions," Arvantis said.
Richardson school district trustees also say the state's budget crisis warrants desperate measures.
"I think the Rainy Day Fund should definitely be tapped," said Karen Ellis, board vice president. "This is the time for that to take place. It's critical."
Inside the luncheon, Perry did not mention the state funding cuts. But his office announced Tuesday that he and House leaders have agreed to use $3.2 billion from the reserve fund.