Students, Parents, Teachers Speak Out Against Proposed Cuts

Tuesday, Mar 1, 2011  |  Updated 2:35 PM CDT
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Students, parents and teachers are pleading with the school board to save their schools.

Ellen Goldberg, NBCDFW.com

Students, parents and teachers are pleading with the school board to save their schools.

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Students, parents and teachers pleaded with the Dallas Independent School District on Thursday night to save funding for their schools.

An overflow crowd packed DISD headquarters for the school board meeting, and more than 30 speakers took the podium.

"I ask you not to take away my dreams or those of the thousands of other DISD students," one student told board members. "You tell us we are the future -- prove it."

The district released a worst-case scenario plan last week on how it could trim $253 million. The cuts included firing 3,100 campus-level employees and 800 noncampus workers.

The district is slashing budgets in anticipation of huge funding cuts from lawmakers. The state faces a revenue shortfall of at least $15 billion, and the Legislature is expected to slash education funding.

Parents, teachers and students in purple shirts protested the proposed cuts outside the meeting.

"Hear our voices -- save our school, save our teachers," parent Zurhaya Hernandez said. "That's what we want. We want that to happen."

Under the worst-case plan, the Townview Center would stand to lose 80 percent of its staff -- 119 teachers across the six high schools housed in the center.

"Many of my teachers, they invest their time in us," said Erma Macias, a sophomore at one of Townview's school. "They stay time after school, and they tutor us. They spend time grading our papers, and it's time for us to invest a little time in them."

DISD is soliciting ideas on how to trim the budget on its website.

But many said they want legislators to dip into the state's Rainy Day Fund.

"If this is not an emergency, than what is?" junior Quetzabel Benavides said. "If education is supposed to be our future, then why is it that we cannot just take out at least some of the money for us to use it for education to progress as a state and as a nation as well?"

More: DISD Financial Outlook feedback form

NBC DFW's Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.

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