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Parents, teachers protest cuts at a Sherman Oaks school

April 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Close to 50 parents and teachers staged a "Black Thursday" protest at a Sherman Oaks middle school.

They used cellphones to drum up support for Governor Brown's budget, and it's a lesson in government no one wants learn like this. Massive funding cuts are looming for schools like Millikan if the governor's budget plan does not get approved.

Parents and teachers are calling lawmakers to get a deal done. Without one, Millikan alone is looking at 17 teacher layoffs.

"It's catastrophic," said parent Frank Guttler. "I can't imagine my child being taught in a classroom with 40, 41, 42 other students. That just doesn't work."

"For my child it means more people, more kids in the classroom," said parent Jill Spector. "More risk of falling through the cracks. And I don't want that to happen."

Standing in the way of the plan are Republicans in Sacramento. They want pension reform before they will agree with the governor.

But while many blame Republicans for the gridlock, some feel the problem is the system itself. Among the parent protesters is actor Luke Perry. His kids go to Millikan.

"It is so easy to go partisan on this," said Perry. "It is a much bigger issue than that. People don't want taxes. Well people are going to pay. They are going to pay now or they are going to pay later. Later it's going to be called the 'ignorance tax' because our kids aren't going to know anything, and they are not going to be educated."

The battle over the state budget is becoming personal for parents and their kids. It is a fight they are feeling first hand in the class room.

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway issued a statement,

"Assembly Republicans understand that during these tough budget times we need to look for savings in every part of the government. We agree that the state's priority should be protecting classroom dollars. But we should not be asking Californians to pay higher taxes to fund a bloated state government."

Parents and teachers at Millikan are promising more protests, particularly something big on May 2, to keep the pressure on the state lawmakers.