Area teachers sign a petition to lawmakers

By Emily Luxen
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Members of the Alabama American Federation of Teachers signed petitions they hope will protect education funding and students from being the latest victims of the Gulf's oil spill.

AFT members said they are concerned how less tax revenue coming into the state because of the oil spill will impact education funding, and the environmental effects on the students who live closest to the Gulf Coast.  

"What most people don't know is the first thing that is impacted when education budgets are cut are teaching materials and supplies for classrooms," said president of the Jefferson County American Federation of Teachers Chapter, Vi Parramore, "We could lose as much as a third to 40% of our budget."

The petition also supports State Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton's announcement he wants to send BP a bill to cover those possible education funding cuts. He said the spill's impact on tourism is hurting tax collections, and that directly impacts the state education budget. Local teachers agree, with less money, it will be a lot harder to do their jobs.

"We would hope that the extra funding could be given to teachers to buy supplies for kids, teaching supplies, and things for the kids on every day basis," said Chalkville Elementary teacher Courtney Jeely.

"It directly affects our job," said Birmingham Paraprofessional Rhonda Coman-Shaheed. "We already aren't getting supply money in our classrooms so that means it's directly affecting supplying things for our children."

AFT leaders plan to send the completed petitions to state legislators, Governor Bob Riley, and President Obama.

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