"We want what's right, not what's left."
TOPEKA, Kan. - The above is the motto of a grassroots groups calling itself Adequate Yearly Funding. This group is organizing a rally to support education in Topeka on Tuesday, March 16. Everyone, educators, teachers, students, grandmothers, grandfathers, and other interested citizens, are welcome to join this rally.
Why should people rally for education? All one has to do is read the local newspaper or watch the local TV news to know what funding cuts will mean for Kansas schools and the students who attend them. According to an article in the March 7, 2010, issue of the Wichita Eagle, "Senate Republican leaders [have] outlined plans to push for $300 million in tax increases to help close a $450 million budget gap for the 2011 budget." (Parkinson cuts roads funding to fix budget) Tax-wary legislators need citizen support in order to follow through with these tax increases.
The situation is dire. According to Wichita Eagle editorial editor Philip Brownlee, cutting an additional $25 million on top of the $34 million that has already been cut from the USD 259 budget "could cause great harm." Further, Brownlee said, "...the district would need to eliminate some personnel to make such a large budget cut. But that could result in larger class sizes and fewer paraprofessionals, which could undermine efforts to raise student achievement and meet the mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind law." (No good options for school cuts) This funding problem has reared its ugly head in every school district in the state.
Participants in the Adequate Yearly Funding rally will meet at 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 16, 2010, at KNEA headquarters, 715 SW 10th Avenue, in Topeka. They will march from there to the Capitol, where they will hear brief statements from Ann Mah, legislative sponsor of the rally, Kansas Teachers of the Year, and invited guests. After speakers' statements, the group will march around the statehouse, chanting and singing to show support for education funding. Parking is available at the KNEA building, across the street at Topeka High School, or in downtown Topeka.
Rally organizers have asked participants to abide by the following code of conduct:
- We are advocating for students. As such, we will be prepared to tell our story - how budget cuts have impacted our students and our teaching.
- We will share with lawmakers, respectfully, that we want them to fully fund Kansas public schools.
- We will walk peacefully around the Statehouse grounds.
- We will obey all laws, be courteous and be respectful.
- Our signs will be respectful and will advocate for funding for our schools.
Those who want more information, including samples of signs, may go to: https://sites.google.com/site/adequateyearlyfunding/home.
Also, they may contact organizers at: Adequate.Yearly.Funding@gmail.com.
Supporters of education in Kansas need to turn out in large numbers for this rally. Those who live in outlying districts may contact their KNEA Uniserv offices or e-mail organizers for car pooling information.