Save Our Schools Rally set for Saturday

Published 2:36 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thousands will gather on the front steps of the capitol building this Saturday in an effort to give students in Alabama a voice.

Julie Sellers Swann, UniServe Director of the Alabama Education Association, said the “Save Our Schools Rally” could be the largest pro-education rally yet.

“Educators are taking a stand about several bills proposed to hurt public education,” she said. “HB159 and HB160 will allow corporations to keep the state income tax withholdings of its workers.”

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Swann said in a press release that the state income tax makes up the majority of every local school budget, and is the only constitutionally guaranteed source of funding.

“The bills are supposed to be a jobs incentive, but under the terms of a bill a company can lay off 33 percent of its workers and get to keep the school funds to pad their bottom line,” Swann said.

Media Specialist at Greenville Elementary School Jacqueline Thornton said she is going to make sure to support the students in Butler County.

“As teachers in Butler County, we are concerned about our children and I’m going to speak up and be a voice for the children in Butler County,” she said.

The goal of the rally is to make the public aware that educators, parents and citizens are concerned and standing up for schools, Swann said.

The rally will not only be targeting the proposed bills, but it will also focus on charter schools.

“The Alabama Education Association members will voice their opposition to charter schools,” Swann said. “Funding charter schools will weaken funding to our already under-funded public schools. Charter schools are often run by for-profit companies and research shows they do not do as well as traditional public schools.”

Thornton said politicians should get out and go to the public schools to visit the students.

“I think the politicians need to stop trying to throw money at charter schools and put money into visiting schools,” Thornton said. “I think if politicians spend a little less time in the capitol building and more time in our schools, they would know what the schools need and how to put our children first.”

The rally will be on the capitol’s steps in Montgomery at 2:30 p.m.

“We would like to see people come and take a stand for public education,” Swann said. “The legislature continues to cut public education dollars and educators have had enough. It is time for Montgomery to hear from parents, families and educators across Alabama that citizens want the Legislature to support education – not attack it.”