East Texas teachers happy with Rainy Day decision

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Holley Nees - email

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The record number of teachers and parents that made the trek to Austin on Monday have just seen a small victory.

Governor Rick Perry announced an agreement to draw $3.2 million out of the state's Rainy Day Fund.

Wright and other members of the American federation of teachers lobbied at the capital to use the fund.

He says they left Austin with mixed feelings.

"We felt like Rep. Christian told us he didn't think that was a good idea at all and he was opposed to it for this biennium," said Stephen Wright, a representative of the American Federation of Teachers. "Rep. White seems open to the idea, but some of our members felt like there was some talk around the issue."

"Over the last three months, I've stated that we need to leave the Rainy Day Fund on the table as a tool to help us with our budget," White said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We have a process up here."

When news of Perry's decision came, Christian said he's open to supporting Perry's lead as more details on the agreement are made public.

However, he warns against raiding "the piggy bank at the first sign of trouble."

Protestors say that trouble is here.

"We went down to fight for what we felt was important," said teacher Denise Davis.

When everyone gets back to school from Spring Break, Wright says there's still more work to be done. His group plans to rally more support so their voice can get louder.

"Staying in touch with parents and informing members of the community that are outside of the classroom," Wright said. "That broadens the base of people who are knocking on Austin's door, making sure public education is funded."

"I think our voices were heard," said teacher Letisia Solis. "I think the huge turnout and not just teachers, but parents, were concerned for their kids too, their education."

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