BRADENTON -- Each corner of Manatee Avenue West from Ninth to 15th streets had a few teachers holding up signs.
Some wore buttons. Others shouted. Horns honked after drivers read the colorful placards and posters held by the teachers. The message they wanted to convey was clear: Fund education now.
About 50 members of Manatee Education Association, also known as the teachers union, came out to demonstrate. Their signs said: “Impeach Scott,” “Fund Education Now” and “Don’t hurt our children.”
MEA President Pat Barber said her organization came out to Manatee Avenue to inform the public of the need to call lawmakers.
“We wanted to come out to raise the awareness of the public to tell people of plans to cut education,” Barber said after the teachers of MEA had demonstrated during Manatee Avenue’s peak traffic time from 5 to about 6 p.m. “The school system in the state of Florida can’t absorb any more cuts and still provide a quality education.”
Fifth-grade teacher Kim Hoy was one of the teachers holding up a sign.
“We feel as if our kids are being attacked. Our profession is being attacked,” she said. “We are losing vital services that we need to help children be successful. Kids have to be our No. 1 priority.”
Meg Newsome, a library media specialist, said public education is key to democracy.
“I think the public needs to be reminded that real people are being affected by what’s happening in Tallahassee,” Newsome said.
Manatee County School District officials have had to cut more than $40 million in the past few years due to budget cuts. By the end of the current legislative session, anywhere from $10 million to $20 million might need to be cut for the 2011-12 fiscal year, according to previous reports.