Students march to state building

March 21, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A group of San Francisco elementary students experienced a real-life civics lesson today, when they protested the governor's budget cuts to education. They hand-delivered their complaints and learned that some politicians listen and some don't.

It's not every day 5th graders demand to talk to the governor of California.

In this crowded conference room, at the state building in San Francisco, 60 students from Commodore Sloat Elementary talked about their fears.

"We might end up with 40 kids in the class," said a fifth grade boy.

"We hope that we can get him thinking about how these budget cuts are going to affect us as students and for the teachers," said Jessica Hyman, a student.

"Our school won't have as many books and pencils and tools to write with," said Sumedha Kumari, a student.

The governor was in Anaheim today, but one of his representatives spoke on his behalf.

"I know it takes a lot of courage to come out here and do this. I know the governor looks forward to working with all the legislatures in the area to make this a priority this year so thank you for coming in," said Gina Antonini from the Office of the Governor.

They hand delivered letters protesting the proposed budget cuts.

Not every student here wrote the governor, some sent letters to their local lawmakers, hoping to be heard. After all, these are California's future taxpayers and future voters.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma is in Japan on business, but State Senator Leland Yee was in the building. He refused to meet with them. Yee was once a member of the San Francisco Board of Education.

"In your heart do you think they read these letters?" asked ABC7's Lyanne Melendez.

"I think it would be good if they did, because they mean something to me and I think if they did, they would know what the students feel," said Amy Grumbach, a fourth grader.

"We would like to have them think about that and learn more about the world and know they can make a difference," said James Dwyer, a teacher.

"No school budget cuts..." the students chanted.

These 5th graders also set out to City Hall to thank the mayor and San Francisco's supervisors for proposing the Rainy Day Fund. The fund will help the school district with its $40 million dollar projected shortfall.


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