Hundreds of Excelsior Families and Teachers March Against Cuts to Public Education

For Immediate Release
March 23, 2011

Contact: Lyra Ibarra, Chairperson Active Leadership to Advance the Youth (ALAY )
(415) 333 – 6267, fundourfuture@alaysf.org

(San Francisco , Ca) On Wednesday March 23rd, 2011, at 2pm in the Excelsior District, five hundred teachers, students, and family members took to the streets behind the banner of “Defend Public Education; Fund our Future.” On the following day, SFUSD schools were required to submit budgets that include a possible ten to fifteen percent cut. “It’s hard to even fathom how our school could survive another cut. As the years go by, the cuts get more and more devastating. With each cut it becomes harder to provide quality instruction to all students, and our families and children suffer.” says Karen Zapata, fourth and fifth grade teacher at San Francisco Community School .

The march begun in front of San Francisco Community School (125 Excelsior Ave. at Paris St.) and proceeded down Mission St. toward the Onondaga post office. There, march participants delivered two hundreds letters to Governor Brown explaining the dire condition of public education and demanding solutions that increase funding for teachers, staff, materials and curriculum. “California has the eighth largest economy in the world, but it ranks at the bottom of the country’s per pupil spending. At the root of the problem are corporations whose profits increase while our millions of students and teachers suffer from the economic crisis and budget cuts. Our elected officials need to start making corporations pay their fair share in taxes and prioritize our basic need for education,” said Lyra Ibarra, chairperson of Active Leadership to Advance the Youth (ALAY) and Balboa High School graduate.

Following the stop at the post office, the march returned to London Street at Excelsior for a short program including performances and speakers. Participants included  San Francisco  Community  School ,  Monroe  Elementary School ,  June  Jordan  High School ,  James  Denman Middle School , People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth,  Filipino  Community Center, ALAY, Chinese Progressive Association,  Chinatown   Community  Development  Center , and more to be confirmed. “As we move forward to look towards solutions, it’s really important that we build a unified movement. Our strength can come through better communication and collaboration amongst students, community organizations, teachers, parents and unions to oppose the attack on public education,” says Che’Graftanay Mims, youth leader with POWER.

The march organizers agree that the day’s protest is only the first step in building a long term campaign to restore full funding for public education.  Organizers envision moving from short term fixes such as Governor Brown’s proposed tax extensions, toward comprehensive solutions such as reforming Prop 13 to eliminate its stranglehold on revenue measures and shift the tax burden back to the wealthy; and redirecting funds from prison expansion, to education and human needs that prevent the need for prison.  For more information on the march, program, and future events please contact fundourfuture@alaysf.org.###

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