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Thousands of teachers, staff rally in Austin

"Show us the money." That was the battle cry at the Capitol Monday from members of the state teachers union and their supporters.

More money is expected to be put into the education budget this year but along with that cash several GOP backed reforms are also being pitched like school vouchers.

About 3,000 members of the Texas American Federation of Teachers turned out for their annual spring break trip to the Capitol. The demonstration, while much smaller than the rallies during the budget crisis two years ago was very vocal.

"It's important to be here because education is important and we're not getting what we need, as far as to help our kids as far as education, we need better leadership." said Kenneth Austin, a North Forest ISD employee.

The group called on lawmakers to oppose school voucher legislation and urged them to tap into the rainy day fund. The extra money would go beyond replacing the $5 billion funding reduction that hit school districts in 2011.

"My children's education and the education of children in Texas is extremely important and is something lacking right now when I have classes of 38 students per class and I'm teaching English it's very difficult to reach my students and I'm looking at the future of my own children and I'm recognizing that if we don't do something then we are going to lose a lot more than what we're gaining right now," said Alexia Alexopoulos, a high school English teacher from Sugarland.

While the teachers were on the south steps talking about protecting the future, Governor Rick Perry was inside the Capitol talking about an effort to protect the past.

The governor recognized members of a group called Old Spanish Missions, Inc. $15 million was raised by OSM to restore and help preserve four sites in San Antonio. Those include Mission San Francisco de la Espada, San Juan, San Jose and Concepcion.

The Governor noted the Historic Commission award he presented Monday took place as technology is showcased this week during SXSW.

"They're looking ahead to the future and I think it's good that we take a little time and we say thank you to those who have worked so hard to protect out link to our past in other words before we get too carried away with where we are going, we need to remember who we are and where we came from," said Governor Perry.

Governor Perry later this week may also be involved in some restoration work. The governor will be a featured speaker at C-PAC. The annual gathering of conservatives is considered an important stage for any Republican, who may be thinking about a Presidential run in 2016. Perry's last shot at the White House in 2011, picked up steam at C-PAC but his campaign later fizzled after the Iowa Caucus.

Governor Perry has said he will wait until the end of the Legislative Session before he announces his political plans. He is up for re-election in 2014.

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