RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of teachers, parents, and students rallied at Monroe Park in Richmond before they marched to the Virginia State Capitol Monday to advocate for more school funding, additional school counselors, and an increase in pay for educators.
They chanted as they walked up Franklin Street to the Capitol.
The Virginia Education Association (VEA) said they hoped the march would send a message to lawmakers to "Fund Our Future."
"There’s no excuse for a state like Virginia shortchanging our students and our educators this way," VEA president Jim Livingston said. "We are demanding that the General Assembly reverse its budget cuts and give Virginia public schools the resources our students deserve."
Livingston said since 2009, budget cuts during the Great Recession have hindered schools' ability to provide high quality education for the state.
"We've got advocates here today to say enough is enough and it's time for the General Assembly to fund our schools," said Livingston
Behind the matching red gloves, hats, and jackets that filled Monroe Park Monday morning-- teachers, students, and parents said they see the need in different ways.
"We have buildings that are falling apart. We have mice, we have roaches in the building," Richmond Schools teacher Darrell Turner said. "Our children deserve more."
"Education is at a crisis point, and right now we need to do a little gut check and realize that the words that we say are not being met with our actions," Brad Mock, Civics Teacher at Martin Luther King Middle School, said.
Mock said he wanted to see more support staff positions available at the school.
"Custodians, bus drivers -- those positions drive the school. It's not only the teachers," Mock added.
Special Education teacher Richard Brown, who attended the rally with his dog Valerie, added that he wanted to see more parent involvement in schools.
Jim Livingston with the Virginia Education Association said it comes down to one thing.
"Our message to the General Assembly today -- it’s time to make kids, it’s time to make public education the top priority in the Commonwealth of Virginia."
Livingston said right now Virginia's pay ranks 34th in the country -- yet Virginia is the 12 wealthiest state.