Thousands Rally In SD For Education Funding

Teachers, School Workers, Students, Parents At Embarcadero Marina Park North

About 1,000 teachers, school workers, students and parents descended on downtown San Diego Friday to take part in a "state of emergency" rally calling on the Legislature to maintain funding for education.

The rally at Embarcadero Marina Park North culminated a week of protests spearheaded by the California Teachers Association. The protests began Monday in Sacramento with a rally at the state Capitol.

Simultaneous events were taking place Friday in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Bernardino.

Many of the participants wore the San Diego Education Association's red T-shirts, and carried signs and banners. The organization has held rallies outside schools almost daily in hopes of warding off teacher layoffs and other major spending cuts.

Hundreds of teachers and staff members' jobs are on the chopping block at the end of the school year, and the Board of Education has approved increased class sizes and discussed cutting bus service to the legal minimum.

Nearby, several Republican and taxpayer groups held a counter-protest.

David Spady, of Americans for Prosperity, told a local TV station that the teachers' union "should not look at the taxpayers as an ATM."

Earlier, a small group of people held a rally outside the Mira Mesa office of Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego. The lawmaker said state revenues are exceeding projections by $2.5 billion, which should allow for K-12 education to be fully funded next year without adding new taxes.

He vowed not to support a budget that further decreases education funding.

Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled to release an updated budget proposal Monday, in part reflecting the improved financial picture.

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