ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Over 5,000 teachers and educators signed up to march along with students and community leaders to push for more school funding.

It was the largest rally in Annapolis in nearly a decade.

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“There are overcrowded classes, there are underfunded schools, the buildings are at the point where they need to be condemened and it needs to happen now,” Alisa Aubin, a kindergarden teacher, said.

The Maryland State Department of Education said public school’s are underfunded by $2.9 billion every year.

Teachers and students marched to urge legislators to increase school funding by $325 million in the current budget.

“Right now we’re paid at a lower level than similar professions with similar requirements,” Doug Prouty, Vice President of the Maryland State Education Association, said. “Retain and attract educators. Increase teachers pay.”

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Last week, leading Maryland Democrats outlined a 10-year blueprint to improve education.

It includes more than $1 billion in funding in the state budget over the next two years to begin implementing recommendations from a state commission.

“We cannot, we will not accept a system where almost half of teachers leave the profession after their second year of teaching,” Senator Chris Van Hollen said. “That is unacceptable.”

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Kelsey Kushner