POSTED: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 3:13pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 7:17am
BROWNSVILLE — Thousands of signatures made up of educators, Brownsville residents, parents and others concerned about the well being of our state's public education future have signed the “Stop the Cuts” petition.
"In the state constitution it says that the legislature will fund education, right now they are not, there are lawsuits throughout the state of Texas , some of them have been bundled, challenging the constitutionality of the this budget and how we are going to fund education," says Association of Brownsville Educators member, Patrick Hammes.
The uproar has to do with the state legislature's continued cuts to the education systems; over five billion dollars in cuts throughout the Lone Star State.
Here in Brownsville, cuts of 23-million dollars will be made during a two year period.
The petition, created by the Association of Brownsville Educators is intended to send
Texas Governor Rick Perry a message.
"We're asking the governor to call a special session to restore the cuts, and there is money in the Rainy Day Fund, and so we can stop the cuts and provide the proper and appropriate education to the students of Texas," says Hammes.
Hammes adds that statewide, so far roughly 35-thousand support personnel have been let go as well as nine thousand teachers.
“What's happened already is that 300 school districts have requested a waiver of the classroom 22-1 ratio, and roughly 280 of those have been granted, so you're going to have larger classroom sizes," he explains.
From the junior high to high school level, classes could reach as many as 35 students.
And then there are some classes that are being completely cut all together.
"Some of the cuts we're looking at also in Brownsville, in BISD are the cuts in elementary art classes and computer classes," says Hammes.
The "Stop the Cuts" campaign is a statewide one, but Hammes says of all the groups participating, Brownsville has collected the most signatures, roughly 26-hundred.
"In our area, in the Rio Grande Valley, you are in a couple of the poorest counties in the US; Hidalgo in second and Cameron in third, per capita income. Cutting money, cutting education is not the way for us to become a global force in the 21st century. All it is, is a way for us to get further and further behind," says Hammes.
Next on the agenda, the 26-hundred and the other thousands of "Stop the Cuts" petitions from around the state will be delivered to the Governor's Mansion in hopes he gets the message and does something about it.