About 2,000 teachers and other supporters of public education
gathered in a bayfront park in downtown San Diego on Friday
afternoon to send a message to state legislators.
“Save our schools, save our students!” chanted the crowd
gathered on the hilly grass of Embarcadero Marina Park North behind
“Are you listening, Sacramento?” California Teachers Association
board member Jim Groth said from the stage of the park.
Similar rallies were held in Los Angeles, San Bernardino,
Sacramento and San Francisco on Friday as part of a week of
activities organized by the California Teachers Union.
In San Diego, several speakers urged people to tell state
lawmakers to put an initiative on the ballot to extend temporary
taxes set to expire this year.
Many school districts have said the tax extension would save
Speakers at the rally included Valley Center-Pauma Unified
School District Superintendent Lou Obermeyer, named the 2011
Superintendent of the Year by the Association of California School
Administrators, and Wendy Lamb, a bus driver from the Vista Union
“The budget crisis has hit all of us,” Obermeyer said. “From my
school district, Valley Center-Pauma Unified, to San Ysidro to
Oceanside, and every school between them. We’re about to deny a
generation of young people one of the most fundamental rights our
nation has historically offered: the right to a free, high quality
Obermeyer told the crowd to press the state to continue funding
“When we leave here today, we need to take these messages with
us and deliver them again and again and again,” she said. “The
stalemate in Sacramento will end only when enough of us demand that
Lamb said budget cuts also have hurt nonteaching school
employees such as herself, and she told the crowd that about 20,000
bus drivers, custodians and other classified workers could lose
their jobs this year if the temporary taxes are not extended.
In the crowd, San Marcos Middle School teacher Lawrence Osen
said he was at the rally to show support for teachers and to make a
statement to the state.
“We all know that with additional cuts, we lose valuable
programs and talented teachers, especially new teachers who are
just hired,” he said.
Oceanside Unified School District teachers LeAnn Irwin and Tina
Delarosa, who was district teacher of the year in 2001, said they
are worried about how cuts will affect students.
“We just noticed in the last year that class sizes continue to
grow, and we’re having more and more cuts,” Irwin said. “We’re
noticing it’s affecting our children.”
“I’m here for our students,” Delarosa said. “I guess I’m really
pretty passionate about kids, and sometimes that gets lost. I was
and raised in Oceanside and wanted to come back to be a teacher
because they meant so much to me.”
On the entrance to the park, a small counter rally against taxes
was held near a large inflatable ATM.
“We’re here with a message that we don’t need higher taxes, we
need to spend within our means,” said David Spady, the state
director of Americans for Prosperity.
Spady said raising taxes would not bring in more money but would
have the opposite effect because it would drive businesses out of
Call staff writer Gary Warth at 760-740-5410.