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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Protesters take the streets over proposed budget cuts

Shane Bekian
Shane Bekian / The Daily Wildcat Protestors against the recent education budget cuts stand together on the corner of Granada Ave. and Congress St. in Downtown Tucson on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

Chants rang through the streets as the citizens of Tucson protested in rage and frustration against the impending cuts to Arizona’s public school system.

With all the talk of possible budget cuts that Gov. Doug Ducey plans to implement within the next few weeks, emotions ran high while the people of Tucson fought to make their voices heard.

Stationed in downtown Tucson, outside of Ducey’s satellite office on Congress Street, citizens took to the streets to voice their concern. Coming together as a community, they came with a single message to send to Ducey and policy makers ― stop this budget cut.

The protesters stood with signs, urging awareness to the community of what the budget cut would mean. With messages opposing the proposed mandate, community members stood alongside students from the UA in solidarity, all supporting one cause.

Robin Hiller, long time Arizona native and protester, explained what she would say to Gov. Ducey about the proposed budget.

“I would say, ‘You are destroying our schools,’” Hiller admitted, “’and because of that, you are going to destroy our state.’”

The peaceful protest was arranged by the Pima County Democratic Party, and with only a few hours to prepare, the support seen from the community was considerable. Many who were in attendance were appalled at the possible budget that may be put into legislation. Cheryl Cage, chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, stood passionately alongside protesters. She explains her shock at the possible cut to public schools and her thoughts when she first read the budget.

“When I saw what was going to be in the budget, I honestly thought that I was reading was wrong; it was so horrible” Cage said.

Earlier this year, Ducey had made plans to cut over 100 million dollars from the public schools statewide, this includes the K-12 public schools, as well as the public universities. There is worry that such cuts would have tremendous effects not only on schools, but also on the Arizona economy.

Business owner of a student housing company, UA alum, and former ASUA president, Morgan Abraham stood side by side with other protesters. He expressed his concern with the budget cut, predicting a great ripple effect detrimental not only to the students at the UA, but also businesses who depend on those students.

“My business is directly tied to the university,” Abrahams said, citing a rise in tuition as a result of the budget cut. “Other things have to get switched out. [Students] have to pay for food and books; housing is a big deal for the community if they aren’t able to afford it.”

Protesters expressed that this budget is bigger than Tucson. Standing together, an Arizona State University alum chanted with a group of UA students and encouraged drivers to honk their horns in support.


Follow Lauren Renteria on Twitter.

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