Statement of Pennsylvania Working Families on Council’s Failure to put Local Control on the Ballot

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Philadelphians Denied the Chance to Vote for Local Control
Coalition demands vote on education charter amendment
For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Jesse Bacon, 215-298-3923, jbacon@workingfamilies.org
Today, Philadelphia City Council failed to heed the call of 40,000 Philadelphians who have signed a petition to amend the City Charter to demand local control of the School District of Philadelphia. After a PA Working Families press conference this morning, announcing an expected council vote on a ballot measure demanding the General Assembly abolish the School Reform Commission and return Philadelphia schools to local control, Council tabled the resolution, denying Philadelphians the chance to vote on the first-ever citizen-initiated ballot question in November.
“PFT members have been at the forefront of the effort to give Philadelphia’s citizens the power to determine what happens in our children’s schools,” said Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan. “We surveyed over 3,000 Philadelphia residents and our members collected over 17,000 signatures to get local control on the ballot in November. City Council’s failure to vote on this measure is a disappointing setback, but we will keep fighting to bring our schools under local control.”
“Philadelphians from all walks of life came together to say they want a chance to have a voice in their schools. Council needs to listen to their voices and vote immediately to place the local control charter amendment on the ballot.” said Pat Eiding, President, Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO
“We went to City Council today to say that Harrisburg should fund our schools—and Philadelphia should run them. City Council put up a responsible vote to add local funding by taxing cigarettes, and Harrisburg hasn’t even scheduled a vote to approve that—it’s time for us to get a vote on taking back local control of our schools,” said Kati Sipp, director of Pennsylvania Working Families
“1199C members support a local voice in Philadelphia’s schools. Health care workers know the importance of dignity and decision-making. We want Council to show some courage in securing the health of our children’s education by approving the local control ballot measure.” said Henry Nicholas, President of District 1199C.
PA Working Families has been part of a historic 10-month long campaign gathering 40,000 signatures in favor of letting the entire city vote on local control of Philadelphia schools. Canvassers with PA Working Families, Fight for Philly, SEIU 32BJ, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, PCAPS, and others have been collecting signatures since April, turning in 40,000 signatures to Council in May. The
last step in bringing the question of local control to all the voters of the city is Council approving the ballot question.
“We filed 40,000 signatures months ago. Now, time is of the essence for Council to vote to put local control on the ballot in November,” said Gabe Morgan, PA Director of 32BJ SEIU. “There is no good reason for Council to delay. The future of Philadelphia schools is too important to put on hold.”
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Pennsylvania Working Families is an independent political organization standing up for Pennsylvania’s working class and middle class families.

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