Educators discuss economy at regional meeting

Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) -- It's a problem for educators across the country: a lack of funding, all because of an economic crisis.

With proration here at home, Alabama's school systems already feel the hurt.

"If we don't have money, something has got to be cut," explained Peggy Mobley, President of the Alabama Education Association.  Mobley was one of hundreds of educators in Montgomery for the NEA's Southeast Leadership Conference.

She says the time to act is now.

"If something is not done this year, we could be looking at 2-thousand or more educators who are released," Mobley said.

One way to address the problem?

Educators say pushing the Obama administration's massive stimulus package through Congress could do the trick.

It's a measure that could potentially give nearly $140 billion to schools nationwide and $700 million to Alabama's education system.

The money could essentially fill the gap set by proration in December.

"We could almost recover everything that we have lost this year and still have that rainy day fund intact for 2010," Mobley added.

National educators say it's good news the entire nation needs at this point.

"It's hard for us to get the resources and materials for our students and to attract and maintain qualified teachers and education support professionals," said Becky Pringle, Secretary Treasurer of the National Education Association.

As schools in Alabama--and the rest of the country--battle budget cuts and pray for financial freedom, the growth of our children's education hangs in the balance.

"We have to invest in public education because that is an investment in the future prosperity, strength, and security of our country," Pringle said.

"If we don't take care of [our children], we have no future," Mobley said.