AUSTIN Thousands of teachers and other education staffers from across Texas are expected to join forces in Austin to support public schools.

North Texas teachers met early Monday morning at the Dallas headquarters of the American Federation of Teachers. Ready to rally, the teachers boarded buses headed to Austin.

"In the 2011 legislative session, our legislatures cut public education funding by $5.4 billion," said Rena Honea, president of the Alliance-AFT. "We now know that was not necessary. So, we're headed there to ask them to restore that funding."

The Texas American Federation of Teachers lobby day and rally will be held Monday.

Union leaders have urged educators to use their spring break to gather in Austin and learn more about what the Legislature plans for schools. Supporters have scheduled a rally Monday afternoon on the south steps of the Texas Capitol.

"It's an uphill battle because there are many things our state needs," Honea said. "But, nothing is more important than the education of our future leaders, students who will grow up and lead our state and our country."

The buses departed North Texas at 7 a.m.

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