Berkeley teacher and school employee unions are hoping to take at least 10 bus loads of protesters to rally in Sacramento on Wednesday, April 21. The rally on the capitol lawn is expected to draw thousands of protesters from across the state, urging the reinstatement of the $2.5 billion in additional educational cuts announced for the 2010-11 budget in January. The governor will produce a revision of the 2010-11 budget on May 15.
“If we want to influence the May revise, we have to act before that date,” says Cathy Campbell, president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers. “State revenues are coming in higher than expected. Under the provisions of Proposition 98, all of the $2.5 billion in additional cuts could be eliminated if the increased revenues are indeed a trend.”
The BFT is organizing Berkeley’s response together with the Berkeley Council of Classified Employees. The BFT and BCCE are hoping that parents and other people interested in the future of education in the state will join them for the rally.
The planned buses will leave Berkeley at 2:00 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., to reach Sacramento in time for the 4:00 p.m. rally. At least two buses will leave from the Adult School, and Campbell said she is hoping to get support from students there, where programs will be affected should the cuts go through. Berkeley Unified School District superintendent Bill Huyett will allow teachers to leave at the same time as students on the Wednesday, which is an early release day, Campbell said. “It’s a real sign of their understanding of the issues,” she said. Teachers who do leave for the rally will be required to complete and document their professional development at some other time.
Photo of State Capitol by David Monniaux