Give a Penny
The penny may be the one coin that most people rarely care about. You see them thrown in fountains or lost between couch cushions, but some Alachua County students and staff want North Central Florida legislators to see them as a powerful budget tool.
It's lunch time at Gainesville High and there are big crowds... not just for food. With lunch in one hand and a pen in the other students are signing a letter voicing concerns about possible budget cuts.
"The kids know that in today's market without a world-class education, that they're going to have difficulty competing for jobs," said Karen McCann, a guidance counselor at GHS.
The letters are addressed to state legislators, explaining why schools can't take more budget cuts. GHS student Wayne Cooper is one of the students gathering signatures. He says possible cuts to education would hurt him and other family members.
"I have a little sister, she likes art," said Cooper. "She's in the fourth grade now, but when she comes to high school that art program might not be there for her."
So far more than 3400 letters have been signed from Gainesville High School alone. Once signed organizers are taping a penny on each letter.This signifies efforts to get legislators to pass a one-cent increase to the state sales tax for the next three years. They say this would bring in $3.5 billion a year and could make up for the $10 billion that might get cut from the state budget.
"Having a voice and being able to get the message out and get other people active will hopefully get this thing going a lot faster," said GHS student Travis Harris.
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