For Immediate Release
August 22, 2013
Massive rally and march to call for full, fair funding for Philadelphia schools
With only 18 days before students are scheduled to return to class, Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools will call for school funding.
Philadelphia, PA – Only 18 days before Philadelphia public school students are scheduled to return, Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) will march from Comcast Center to City Hall to Philadelphia School District headquarters, culminating in a massive rally outside the 5:30pm School Reform Commission meeting.
Students, teachers, school staff, former hunger strikers, parents, and supporters will visit Comcast to call on large corporations to pay their fair share in taxes to support city schools. They’ll then march to City Hall to demand Mayor Nutter and City Council find immediate additional funding for all public school needs. Finally, the group will march to School District Headquarters to rally outside of a meeting of the state-controlled School Reform Commission.
Philadelphia schools are in a crisis. 24 schools have closed and thousands of people have been laid off. Only after Superintendent Hite threatened that schools might not open in time did the mayor and City Council promise $50 million in newly-borrowed funds to provide the bare minimum to open doors on September 9. The School Reform Commission passed its “Doomsday Budget,” eliminating funding for arts, music, sports, guidance counselors, assistant principals, secretaries, non-teaching assistants, and other essential staff and programs. The state General Assembly and the governor have not done their part, finding only a portion of the money needed to adequately fund our schools and refusing to give Philadelphia even the authority to create a new cigarette tax. City Council failed to introduce reforms to Philadelphia’s Use and Occupancy tax that would have raised taxes on large properties after the huge breaks they’ll get under AVI.
Scheduled speakers at Comcast Center include Philadelphia public schools graduate PA Sen. Daylin Leach and Rev. Alvin Herring of PICO National Network, a national network of faith-based community organizations. At City Hall, a public school teacher, a public school student, a safe schools faster from UNITE-HERE, and others will speak. Scheduled speakers at the School District Headquarters will include PA Sen. Christine Tartaglione; Jerry Jordan, head of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Gabe Morgan, Vice President, 32BJ SEIU; Pat Eiding, President of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO; Pastor Mark Tyler, and others. Student speakers from Boston, Baltimore, and other cities will also travel here in support of Philadelphia public school students.
The governor and corporate reformers like Comcast’s David Cohen want the school district to save money by forcing teachers and staff to make salary and benefit concessions. But Philadelphia teachers are already paid 19 percent less than their counterparts in Bucks and Montgomery counties. And large corporations like Comcast continue to benefit from the persistence of the Delaware loophole, low state business taxes, and AVI. “Shared sacrifice” should mean that those most able should pay before teachers and staff give even more. The state government found only $2 million in new funding. The city has pledged $28 million from delinquent tax collection and is being asked to borrow $50 million. Why must teachers and staff come up with $130 million?
||Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS)
||March and rally for public school funding
||Thursday, August 22, 3:30pm
||Comcast Center (17th and JFK) to City Hall to School District Headquarters (440 N. Broad St.)
||1,000 marchers, signs, diverse crowd of protesters, speakers, students, teachers, parents, banners
PCAPS is a coalition of students, parents, and teachers with an unwavering commitment to improving Philadelphia’s school system. Members of the coalition include ACTION United, AFT Pennsylvania, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Fight for Philly, Jobs with Justice, Juntos, Media Mobilizing Project, Occupy Philly Labor Working Group, Philadelphia AFL-CIO, Philadelphians Allied for a Responsible Economy, Philadelphia Home and School Council, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Philadelphia Student Union, SEIU 32BJ, UNITE HERE Philadelphia, and Youth United for Change.
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