On March 19, Maryland teachers gathered in Annapolis for the “Rally to Fix Funds” to fight for their right to properly educate their students. Recently, some Maryland teachers found out that they would be receiving a budget cut, which caused the number of students in classes to increase as well as teachers, specifically Paraeducators, to be surplussed or moved to another school.
Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) passed an operating budget for the fiscal year of 2019 that entails an increase of $87.7 million or 10.7 percent, according to the HCPSS website. Montgomery County and Carroll County have also increased their budgets, but the increases may not be enough to support growing populations in the schools.
“It was really supportive. It felt like we were all there for a cause,” said Math teacher Ms. Zoya Riaz, who attended the rally in Annapolis.
Some of the people present at the rally were the people who could make a difference with writing the legislation. Through the chants of the crowd, they seemed to be swayed towards making a difference. For teachers, it is the students that they want to help. It is their education they know the budget cut will impact, and it is for their students that they went to Annapolis to fight.
Without the money for funding, the teachers are not getting enough time to get their work done. They have to buy their own supplies for their students, due to lack of supplies and staff to help students when they need it. They say time is money, and the teachers that are fighting for their right to help their students and themselves are fighting for the time and money to do so.
At the moment, schools in Maryland are short on money by $2 million yearly. The rally in Annapolis also took place in support of the Fix Fund Act, which increases school funds so that every child can get the education he or she deserves. By passing the act, $500 million would be added to school funding.
Ms. Riaz commented, “What people don’t realize, is that when our funding is cut, the students are the ones who are getting the least benefit because a larger class size means there is not as much one-on-one instruction.”
Hoping for a change is a powerful thing, but doing something about it is a bolder statement. When the teachers of Mt. Hebron and the neighboring schools and counties went to Annapolis, they went to make a statement that they want a change in funding so that they can do their job, get the support they need, and help their students get the support they need.
The legislation and lawmakers heard them and are now ready to put a new budget formula into effect that will increase the budget and help everyone in Maryland, students and teachers alike.