‘Day of Action’: Teachers walkout, call on lawmakers to increase funding for education

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Salt Lake Education Association is calling it a ‘Day of Action’ as hundreds of teachers along some students and parents call on Utah lawmakers to increase funding for education by 6 percent.

While many at the walkout were teachers, some students at the event were carrying signs like, “I would’ve finished, but ran out of supplies.”

Other signs brought by teachers read, “We stand with public schools,” ‘Stop stiffing our students,” and “More funding for student mental health.”

ABC4 News spoke with teachers at the event who said they’re here on behalf of all Utah students and said there’s a greater need that’s not being met.

“Besides reducing class size, other needs are a substitute shortage,” said organizer Gloria Shirley “We need to increase our mental health and behavior support.”

Sarah LaFond, a special education teacher told ABC4 News the six percent teachers are asking for is “the baseline of what they [students] need.”

“I have students right now who can’t get the counseling services that I would like them to have just because we don’t have the funding to have enough counselors,” LaFond said.

A one-mile walk from the Federal Building to the Utah State Capitol, teachers, students, and parents went inside in hopes lawmakers would hear their plea to increase funding.

“There’s a greater number of students who need social and emotional learning support, there are districts that have very large class sizes and our students deserve more,” said Michelle Grutter, a teacher specialist.

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