Teachers Rally in Austin for Education Spending

Teachers want to restore $5 billion cut from education two years ago

Teachers from North Texas returned home Monday night after protesting budget cuts at the state Capitol.

In Austin, about 1,000 sign-carrying teachers rallied in a vocal demonstration.

"We got to speak with our legislators and, hopefully, they heard our concerns and they're going to the right way, which is for our students and teachers as well," said teacher Maricela Zuniga, of Dallas.

The 2011 Legislature cut $5.4 billion in public school funding and educational grant programs.

Teachers say the cuts cost them 25,000 jobs and complain that Texas now ranks 49th in per-student education spending.

"Our kids are our future," said Tina Perry, another Dallas teacher. "Without the support of one another, it can't be done, so we have to stick together and get this done."

The teachers' trip home was delayed a short time when one of their buses broke down near Hillsboro.

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, told demonstrators they should urge lawmakers to tap the state's cash-flush Rainy Day Fund to restore the cuts.

Referring to proposals to use some of the fund to improve state water and transportation infrastructure, Davis said, "You tell them school children are more important than any road" or water project.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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