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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Rally to seek school support

    The Arizona Education Association, in conjunction with the Arizona Students Association, will be organizing one of the largest mobilizations of education supporters ever seen in this state to combat the severe budget cuts.

    On March 4, AEA plans for parents, students, teachers, and education support professionals to form a crowd and descend upon the Arizona State Capitol starting at 4 p.m.

    “”We have a significantly larger crowd, we are expecting about 10,000 people,”” said John Hartsell, a public relations consultant of AEA. “”It’s going to be a big event.””

    Deemed the ‘March4Schools Rally’, it was called into action because of budget decisions made by Republican lawmakers.

    The approval of the $350 million cut to Arizona public education will make an already dismal education system even worse, said AEA officials.

    Arizona ranks 50th in per pupil funding, the average teacher salary in Arizona is $6,000 below the national average, and the state has the second highest pupil to teacher ratio in the country, said AEA officials.

    Michael Slugocki, President of ASA, said that whilehis organization normally has a lobby day every year, this year ASA plans to combine the lobby day with the March4Schools rally.

    “”During the morning we are going to be lobbying our elected representatives; in the afternoon there will be a large rally with the whole AEA and a lot of our people,”” Slugocki said.

    Hartsell said the rally program will be fairly short with music and several speakers.

    As for members of legislature, AEA officials expect many to attend; however, only Democratic Representative David Lujan, and Republican Senator Carolyn Allen, will be welcoming the crowd to the state capital.

    AEA hopes a public rally of this size will influence Arizona lawmakers’ decisions when they begin working on next year’s budget.

    “”The more pressure we keep on the state legislature the better, and the more people we get there talking about education the better,”” Slugocki said. “”We have to keep up the discussion going; and a showing of that many people will send a strong message saying that we care about education.””

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