PCAPS delivers petitions with 10,00 signatures calling for full funding and an end to attacks on teachers and school employees at City Hall today.
Today the PFT leadership announced that it will propose to its membership a package that will save the district millions of dollars by forgoing pay increases and making changes to employees’ health care benefits. President Jerry Jordan said he is taking this step in order to get laid off members back in classrooms where students need them. This action puts the ball back in the court of the SRC and our elected officials. Now, more than ever, there can be no excuse for inaction in getting our schools the funding they need.
The PFT is proposing these concessions knowing full well that its members have already sacrificed. They make 19% less than their suburban counterparts, have more difficult working conditions, and give generously out of their own pockets to make their classrooms viable. As both PFT and PCAPS leaders have pointed out repeatedly, teachers did not make this mess, politicians did, notably Governor Corbett who chopped a billion dollars out of the education budget and has refused to restore funding to earlier levels.
Now it’s time to stop bashing the teachers and their union, recall the laid off employees and come up with solutions to our funding crisis. The concessions, we should be clear, come at cost for students, making an already difficult job even less competitive. Teacher retention will suffer unless we reverse the trend and replace austerity with full funding. We need to invest in a stable, qualified group of teachers who are prepared to make a career of working with our children.
Specifically we call for:
- Dr. Hite to restore essential services to our school including restoration of guidance counselors, nurses, certified librarians, administrative staff and the teachers necessary to eliminate overcrowding ,split grades, and to maintain lower class size, particularly in the primary years.
- Our city leadership to demand the Governor release the 45 million dollars promised to the schools based on labor concessions.
- The Mayor and Council put their heads together to find a short term solution that can ensure our schools are adequately staffed for this coming year.
- That in the Fall our delegation in the Pennsylvania House and Senate make a first priority a school budget that raises new revenues for schools by reordering priorities and closing corporate tax loopholes and adopts an equitable funding formula for distributing monies to local Districts.
We will continue to stand together as students, parents, educators and citizens in the fight for public schools that meet the needs of all children