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Calif. teachers protest cuts across state

A massive protest is being planned later this week in downtown Los Angeles in response to proposed state cuts to education.

May 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A massive protest is being planned later this week in downtown Los Angeles in response to proposed state cuts to education.

Similar protests are happening this week in Sacramento. About 65 demonstrators were arrested Monday for trespassing at the State Capitol.

Protestors from the California Teachers Association want the legislature to extend higher sales, income and vehicle taxes that are set to expire June 30. Teachers said billions of dollars in cuts will increase class sizes and cause thousands of layoffs in schools.

"When you have a budget that's slashing services," said L.A. Unified Teacher David Goldberg. "That's laying off 40,000 teachers, slashing services to our students, raising class size, that's what's extreme."

Some parent groups are comparing spending on education and incarceration, which they say is the cost of underfunding public schools.

On Tuesday, parents of imprisoned youth will push lawmakers to extend recent tax hikes to avoid education cuts. The parents, from Books Not Bars, say such funding is a smarter investment than locking up minors.

But taxpayer advocates insist the state is simply running out of money and sacrifices are necessary.

"It's not going to change any minds," said Jon Coupal from Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. "I think people correctly perceive that they're taxed enough."

Republicans thwarted Gov. Jerry Brown's initial plan to extend the tax hikes and are now pointing to a new source to pay for education- a $2.5 billion windfall in tax revenue that came to the state last month.

Republicans said they will share ideas later this week for other ways to solve the state's remaining $15.4 billion deficit without tax increases. That will come on the doorstep of Brown's revised budget proposal, which he is expected to deliver Monday.

On Friday teachers will work for the first half of the day and spend the second half protesting in front of their schools.

Then at 4 p.m., a mass protest for all teachers in the area is planned at Pershing Square in downtown L.A.

The Associated Press contributed to this story