Teachers Fight Budget Cuts
Many North Central Florida teachers and parents are worried schools may end up with less money in the new state budget, and many of them are getting ready to take a field trip to the state capitol to tell lawmakers how they feel.
Music teacher Debbie Cole has been teaching students for over 30 years, and in that time, she says she's seen many changes in education, but with Marion County schools facing budget cuts to the "tune" of 44 million dollars, she's never been as concerned for it's future, as she is now. "We've come so far, I'd really hate to see education go backwards", said Cole.
In February...over 500 first and second-year teachers received a letter saying their contracts would not be renewed next year, and even award-winning teachers weren't exempt. Andrea Armatti, Rookie Teacher of the Year, told TV20: "I finally feel like I've got my foot in the door, and I've learned so many things already planning for next year and then they tell me, you know, you can't come back...so it's heart breaking".
Sharing that heart break were hundreds of parents who crowded town hall meetings held by superintendent Jim Yancey just last month. Cole has so far collected over seven hundred letters from parents addressed to legislators asking legislators to find other areas to cut and to spare education, including the arts and music.
Next Wednesday, Cole, along with buses filled with parents and teachers, will head to Tallahassee to deliver the letters. Another group of parents plan on delivering large containers of pennies as well-- a symbolic gesture of their support for the one cent sales tax.
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