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Just as the AFL-CIO is calling for us to call 1-888-355-3588 and speak to our congresspersons against CAFTA:

School Employees Rally Against Texas Legislature Cuts

Members of the Alliance for Education rallied at Town View Magnet School in Dallas right after school hours on May 23. President Aimee Bolender presented School Board member Ron Price and several officers from the American Federation of Teachers. About 200 school employees enthusiastically supported speakers while television cameras recorded the story.

The State of Texas is constitutionally obligated to provide quality education, but the Legislature has steadily cut their own share of school financing from 33% to 18%, according to Bolender. The rest was dumped onto local property taxpayers.

"Do no harm"

The enthusiastic crowd chanted with Bolender, "Do no harm!" because of the many threats from the Legislature. They want to make it harder to retire and easier to get fired. They pretend there's no money for quality education while actually cutting taxes for the wealthiest Texans and raising taxes for everybody else. They want to continue squandering taxpayer money on poorly-performing charter schools and start throwing away even more money on a voucher system for private schools. While school employees see their retirement possibilities suffering, the legislators are rewarding themselves with a fat new pension plan!

Their new pension plan would give them $6,000/month, but a 26/year teacher would only get $2,000, Bolender said.

"Textbooks yes, vouchers no"

The school employees stand with the rest of Texans in wanting quality education. Texas students are doing without while fat property owners get the benefit of new legislation. Aimee Bolender pointed out that they showed their disdain for Texas children during the last session when they cut the Children's Health Insurance Program. Cuts made in the last session were supposed to be returned, but the public statements from legislators are actually misleading, Bolender said.

"Stand up, be strong and fight"

One of the leaflets distributed at the rally began, "The Texas legislature is Taking Aim at you and Texas public schools." Another one complained that teachers at the Wilmer-Hutchins School District are not receiving their pay at the end of the school year! Current proposals being consider today would take away more than a billion dollars in TRS pension benefits from hundreds of thousands of school employees.

Dallas School Board member Ron Price said, "These proposed bills will take Texas education back 30 years." AFT lobbyist Dwight Harris said, "The Texas legislator and the leadership there does not have Texas education as a priority, their priority is property tax cuts." He added, "90% of us are about to pay more property taxes so that 10% can get property tax cuts."



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