HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Educators gathered at the Connecticut State Capitol on Wednesday to send a message to lawmakers, to invest more money into education.

It was not a protest, but a preemptive rally. Educators hoped to sway democrats and republicans alike, to add more money to the budgets across-the-board, from pre-k to the college systems.

“After two years of covid, and trying to come out of that, now is the time with all of the surplus in the states to invest in higher ed, not to cut back,” said John O’Connor, an associate professor of sociology at Central Connecticut State University.

A spokesperson for the Governor’s Office told News 8 they have increased education funding for pre-k through 12, and increased the higher education budget by 27% over the next two years. But federal covid money has run out, and they don’t believe the state should take on that burden and make up the difference.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont and educational leaders rolled out a plan to increase school staffing in Connecticut.

“In order to rebuild the enrollment you know that is going to take time and investment,” O’Connor said.

Educators are hoping for investment not only in teachers but clerical staff and paraprofessionals.

“I lost my job during the Governor Roland debacle so I know what it’s like to come to work one day and lose your job, and go home crying your eyes out wondering what’s going to happen tomorrow, there are a lot of people in that same position now, and the state, and our legislatures and our governor, they have the power to change that,” said Merisa Willians, president of AFSCME local 478.

Educators also launching an email campaign to lawmakers and they say this will not be their last rally as there are still several weeks to go in the session.