Philadelphia schools will open in several weeks, that much seems certain. But, once again, adequate funding is uncertain and we are a long way from creating the kind of schools our children deserve.
WE NEED A STATE BUDGET TO FULLY AND FAIRLY FUND EDUCATION. The School District is counting on a major infusion of revenue from the state that could restore many of the cuts made during the Corbett years. Governor Wolf has proposed a budget that includes new revenue for schools coming from an extraction tax on oil and gas drilling and increasing both the income and sales tax with protections for low income resident and property tax relief for local communities. But the Tea Party Republicans want another Corbett style budget that would starve education and human services. We need to do everything we can to support the Governor and move enough Republican legislators to get his budget passed.
WE NEED COMCAST TO PAY ITS FAIR SHARE The Comcast corporation has received generous tax abatements and avoided paying school property taxes for years. Now they need to renew their franchise agreement with the city that gives them a near monopoly position. A broad coalition is demanding the City make dedicated funding for school technology and staffing part of the agreement, something that could raise 35 million dollars a year for the District.
WE NEED A CONTRACT THAT IS FAIR TO SCHOOL EMPLOYEES AND GOOD FOR STUDENTS The SRC and the District refuse to bargain with the PFT and, instead, have claimed the power to void their contract. Historically that contract has provided valuable protections to teachers and students, like limits on class size and staffing ratios. Attacks on the living standards and union rights of school workers will not attract the best teachers into our schools. The District needs to get back to the bargaining table.
WE NEED SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS Our schools should be fully staffed with full time nurses, counselors and certified librarians. We need engaging instruction, including art, music and service learning, not drill and kill test prep. We need positive behavior supports, not punitive discipline. We need a real voice for parents, community and school staff, including democratic, local control. And we need wrap around services that can meet the needs of families living in deep poverty. Jim Kenny has signed on to 25 new community schools his first term, but the District’s 3.0 Action plan doesn’t even mention them.
To raise awareness of the continuing education crisis and press our demands we’re planning several actions the first week of school:
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
LABOR DAY ACTION Monday, 9-7 – We will be at the traditional Labor Day march from the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall to Penn’s Landing to leaflet and talk to union members and supporters about the need for a fair budget and support for public education. Join us at 9am at the march staging area at Sheet Metal Workers.
SCHOOL RALLIES FOR FULL FUNDING AND A FAIR CONTRACT Join with PFT members, students and parents.
• Tuesday, 9-8. 3:30 pm Lincoln High School , 3201 Ryan Ave.
• Wednesday, 9-9, 7:45am, Cramp Elementary School, 3449 N. Mascher St.
COMCAST ACTION Thursday, 9-11, 4:00pm – Rally at City Hall, March to Comcast Tower ( The CAP Comcast coalition will be highlighting its demands for a franchise agreement that supports schools and internet access for low income Philadelphians.