Thousands ‘Walk-In’ To Support Public School Funding

MIAMI (CBS4)- A crowd of a hundred of so parents, teachers, and students showed up at Coral Park High School in West Miami-Dade as part of a larger protest against proposed cuts in public school funding.

Public school teachers, parents, students, public sector employees and members of the community, including the United Teachers of Dade, were participating by walking-in to local public schools in the county from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Unions often come under fire for supposedly planning work-place walk-outs, which they say they do not condone. With the county-wide public schools walk-in, participants who are a part of the event will show their support by walking into public schools.

“What do we want? Funding!” the group at Coral Park High School chanted.

“Legislators are killing education in Florida,” said teacher Valerie Petersen.

Sydney Kramer, a student from Everglades Elementary School attended the protest with her parents.

“I’m here to support teachers and make education better,” the student said.

UTD president Karen Aronowitz said the cuts in funding will leave children without the education they need for their future. The United Teachers of Dade represents 32,000 teachers and school support personnel in Miami-Dade County public schools.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of our public school students and teachers,” she said. “We are asking our community to stand with us to keep our kids safe and our public schools open. Our public schools are not for sale and they are not for profit. The governor and legislators have an obligation to the children of Florida. Either they will live up to that obligation, or we’ll find someone who will.”

Banyan Elementary at 3060 Southwest 85th Avenue in Miami will be one of the locations  where parents, teachers and students will come together. A large turn out was expected from those in the community who are outraged with Florida governor Rick Scott’s proposed budget cuts to the education system.

“We need the funds for our schools to make sure our children have what they need for their future and to make sure that public education our schools stay open,” Aronowitz said Thursday. “They’re in danger of closing at this point.”

Aronowitz said taxpayers should get what they pay for.

“We have to put education at the top of the pile, especially in Miami-Dade County,” she said. “We pay our taxes, in fact, we pay more in taxes for our schools than any other county in the state and we receive less.”

Meanwhile, Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent for Miami-Dade public schools, toured several inner city schools Thursday that have seen significant improvements over the last couple of years and bemoaned the spectre of the cuts making their way through the legislature.

“My concern is about what you’ve seen here today,” he said. “It’s about protecting teacher quality, it’s about protecting communities from the ravages of budget reductions.”

Last Thursday, thousands of teachers, parents and students across South Florida and the state gathered in Tallahassee to try to persuade legislators to restore the previous cuts to education and make provisions for a stable source of funding for education.

Governor Rick Scott’s proposed $3 billion education budget cut would include eliminating more than 40,000 jobs in the state, many of them teachers. Two weeks ago, lawmakers kicked off the 2011 legislative session in Tallahassee when Scott gave his State of the State address.

Since then, public employees, including various interest groups, have been protesting the proposed cuts.

The Broward Teachers Union is also trying to stress the need for additional funding for public schools. They claim that students suffer from the cuts.

“What we don’t like is what’s happening right now,” Pat Santeramo, president of the BTU, said. “Teachers are under attack, public education is under attack, public employees, police, fire fighters, government workers are all under attack. Even our union voice for working families is under attack.”

Last week, Scott signed a bill that placed Florida teachers on merit pay while ending tenure for new hires. Scott signed the new law that also will chip away at teachers’ due process and collective bargaining rights.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a similar bill last year.

Not only will schools feel the affects of the cuts. Child welfare, university funding and environmental protection are among the cuts. On the other hand, Scott proposed a 116 percent increase in his budget. The governor wants to add 91 positions to his personal staff, Nelson reported.

More from Gary Nelson
  • Harriett

    Scott is working very hard to reach his goal of eliminating 700,000 jobs in FL. First schools, then prisons – what profession will he eliminate next?

    • Pat

      Probably the library system

      • Pat

        The libraries are barely open now and many are closing because ‘what the heck’ who needs to read, or use computers, or utilize after school programs.

  • bd

    Not only will schools feel the affects of the cuts. Child welfare, university funding and environmental protection are among the cuts. On the other hand, Scott proposed a 116 percent increase in his budget. The governor wants to add 91 positions to his personal staff, Nelson reported.


  • Zandy

    Duh. eyem duh nest prezident, eye kant reed or rite butt i wonted be kuting funs for edakatian…DUH


    bubba j studint

  • Gwen Morantz

    Most of the people complaining are not the home owners who feel the crunch of having to pay and pay and pay. Have some pity on all the home owners paying for the support of schools, libraries, police and other emergency services. Home values have dropped, but not the taxes. The every day working man is strangling, Time for every one else to start coughing up some money to pay for all these programs. Where do you think the money is supposed to come from? I am sick and tired of all the whining from Teachers who can’t teach, and don’t understand what it’s like to work in the real world, 60 hour weeks, NO BENEFITS>>>10 WEEK SUMMER VACATION>>>10 DAY CHRISTMAS BREAK>>>10 DAY SPRING BREAK>>>> GIVE ME A BREAK, AND STOP THE WHINING. I am sick and tired of the ME ME ME mentality.

    • M Westie

      You sound jealous. Those teachers went to school and trained to become educators. And if you think it’s all fun and games (and vacation days), go back to school, get your degree, get certified, and try it. I think you’ll find that the pay is lousy, the students are out of control, and the parents are even worse. Unless you’ve walked in their shoes, you need to quit dissing teachers. You are clueless, lady!

  • UnionsSuck

    Out with the unions, out with the tenures, out with the useless teachers being protected by unions. You wnat education? then move to Vermot, Mass. or New Hampshire. We live in Fla because of the weather. You dont like your schools? or teachers? then go and try homeschooling.

  • QI

    Protecting “TEACHER QUALITY”

    Unions care about “quality” ? Unions are only needed to protect the “trash”

    Quality Teachers have never had a need for the Union

    The key problem with education is the inability of management to remove the

    “trash” because they are protected by the Unions

    Now that the Merit Legislation has become law the “Quality” Teachers can finally

    be rewarded for the excellent education that they provide to there children, and

    the Administration can act to remove the “trash”

blog comments powered by Disqus
Connect With Those In Need
Weather Forecast 24/7

Listen Live