Are School Nurses On the District Chopping Block?

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Over the last three years thousands of parents, students, educators and community members have taken to the streets to protest the cutback in school nurses.   The failure to provide a full time nurse at every school has become the face of a budget crisis that threatens the well being of our students.   Rather than prioritize restoring nurse positions and fighting for the funding to do so, the District, once again, is turning to privatizing these services.

 

The announcement on May 13th that the administration is seeking proposals from private providers“ to expand and improve health care services while working within the District’s current fiscal constraints” is essentially a call for contracting out nursing jobs.”

 

If the District was really concerned with improving health care for our students the first step it would take would be to recall the 100 nurses who have been laid off as a result of an austerity budget adopted three years ago.

 

As part of a school based team, school nurses develop strong relationships with students, their families, teachers and counselors. Many of these nurses have spent years at the same school. Contracting out those positions to save money sacrifices these advantages.   School nurses also have special certification to do this work.   The only motivation for eliminating these positions would be to hire non-union, possibly uncertified, nurses for less money.

 

PCAPS, as an advocate for sustainable community schools, favors wrap around health services that support the work that certified school nurses do for children and can serve families and neighborhoods within our schools. But expanding health services should not be used as a means for privatizing union jobs.

 

We call on the District to:

 

  • Recall laid off nurses. A full time nurse in every school

 

  • Stop the assaults on the PFT, Get back to the bargaining table, and negotiate a contract that is fair to school employees and good for students

 

  • Commit to 25 sustainable community schools with wrap around services by 2018
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Support the Fast Food Strike!

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PCAPS is organizing teachers, parents and students to make snack packs for striking workers. Gather at PFT office, 1816 Chestnut St. on Monday, 4-13, at 5PM.

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Charges dropped In Arrests At SRC Charter School Vote

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Defendants and supporters celebrate following hearing

Four PCAPS members were charged with disorderly conduct for sitting down in front of the Commissioners and refusing to leave after they voted to approve five new charters last month. Kia Hinton and Wilma Frazier of ACTION United and retired teachers Ron Whitehorne and Diane Payne, along with supporters, showed up this morning at the Criminal Justice Center to go before a judge, having rejected the ARD program in which defendants pay a reduced fine, go to a half day session on the fine points of law enforcement and then have their arrest expunged. However in a rare moment of unaminity the prosecutor, the defense attorney Larry Krasner, the Judge and even the arresting officer all agreed the courts had better things to do then prosecute advocates for public education. The charges were dropped.

The defendants want to thank the people who wrote character letters on their behalf, the PCAPS supporters who came out in solidarity and Larry Krassner and his law firm for demonstrating, once again, you can beat the rap.

All the defendarnts vowed to continue fighting charter school expansion and for investment in neighborhood public schools.

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We Know Where We Stand, Where Do They Stand?

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Speech of Parent Leader Kia Hinton Before Getting Arrested at SRC Meeting Wednesday

Kia Hinton, speaking earlier this year at an action demanding more regulation of charters

Kia Hinton, speaking earlier this year at an action demanding more regulation of charters

“By its actions today, the SRC has betrayed its role of doing whats right for ALL Public School Children; Instead, you have decided to advance the interests of a small number of children at the expense of the vast majority in traditional public schools. These are children who already don’t have counselors, books, toilet paper; they don’t have librarians, recess time or gym. My own daughter didn’t receive a geometry teacher until January!”

“What you are doing is beyond irresponsible. You know, SRC, we don’t have the funding to pay for an adequate education for Philadelphia’s children. Now you are adding millions and millions of additional expenses that will be paid for by children in traditional public schools. You have proven to us once again the you do not represent the interests of Philadelphia, but instead, you represent the interests of big money, like PSP, Walton and Gates, and are on the same side as the Republican Senators that dare to dictate from outstate what Philadelphia must do.”

“Shame, Shame, Shame on you SRC

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SRC Votes for More Charters, Squelchs free speech

Faced with a large and angry crowd of students, parents, teachers and community activists, the SRC decided no signs were to be allowed in the meeting.   In the past signs attached to sticks have not been allowed but paper and cardboard have.   This arbitrary action did not prevent an outpouring of protest.  Pictures from the incomparable Harvey Finkle.

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Public Education At a Crossroads

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No New Charters | Sign-on Letter

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PCAPS has released the following letter urging the School Reform Commission to reject all charter applications at its upcoming meeting. Please contact us at pcaps201@gmail.com if you or your organization would like to sign-on.

The Philadelphia School District is in severe financial crisis.  The current school budget doesn’t provide for enough teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians, paraprofessionals, and other school support staff; it doesn’t provide for enough books, building repairs or the supports that students need. Our district currently cannot pay for an adequate education for our children.  Two charter schools have shut down in the middle of this school year, and there are only two auditors to review the finances of 84 remaining charters and the entire district.

The 2015-16 budget is currently $80M short, just to get us to the far less-than-adequate budget of this year.

On Wednesday, February 18, the School Reform Commission will vote on 39 new charter applications.  Adding one charter seat costs the district $7,000.  The average cost to the district of approving one new charter application would be $7 Million in the first year. If all charter applications were approved, the total cost would be $273M in year 1; if 5-10 charters are approved, the cost would be $35M-$70M.

  •  At a time when we remain one of only three states without a full and fair funding formula;
  •  At a time when  $1 billion was taken from PA public schools, with Philadelphia taking the largest cut of over $265 million;
  •  At a time when there is no longer a charter school reimbursement in PA; and
  •  At a time when our district is beyond broke and can’t manage its existing portfolio of charter schools,

We the undersigned, call on the School Reform Commission to vote down all new charter applications at its February 18th meeting.  Even one new charter is one additional cost that the district has no real plan or the budget to cover. Philadelphia public school students cannot handle any additional cuts at a time when they struggle in over crowded classrooms, and see their schools closed and teachers, counselors, nurses, and school support staff laid off .

We also call on the SRC to reject the money from the Philadelphia School Partnership for charter expansion.  This money, which has already been pledged by the Partnership, is nowhere near enough to cover the cost of charter expansion and certainly has too many unknown strings attached.  Instead of PSP giving $35 million to the school district to help pay for charter schools, we suggest investing that money in supporting traditional public schools and the development of sustainable community schools.

Signed,

Mayoral candidate James Kenney

Mayoral candidate Judge Nelson Diaz

Mayoral candidate Douglas Oliver

Mayoral candidate Lynne Abraham

Council President Darrell Clarke

Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr.

Councilman William Greenlee

City Council-At-Large Candidate Helen Gym

City Council-At-Large Candidate Isaiah Thomas

City Council-At-Large Candidate Sherri Cohen

City Council-At-Large Candidate Paul Steinke

City Council-At-Large Candidate Kristen Combs

State Rep. Curtis Thomas

State Rep James Roebuck

State Rep. Cherelle Parker

State Rep. Michelle Brownlee

State Rep. Leslie Acosta

State Senator Shirley Kitchen

State Senaotr Vincent Hughes

ACTION United

American Federation of Teachers PA

Boat People SOS

Media Mobilizing Project

Neighborhood Networks

Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Philadelphia Student Union

SEIU 32BJ

Youth United for Change

AFSCME, District 1199-C

Parents United

Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools

URBAN Philly

PA Working Families

Philly School Counselors United

JUNTOS

Friends of Jackson Elementary

Philadlelphia Jobs with Justice

Education Voters PA

Catherine Collinspublic school parent,Co-founder & Moderator of the Mt. Airy Parents’ Network

Janet McHale, Parent of a 6th grader

Nick Palazzolo, Educator

Lisa Hantman

Dennis Biondo

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Action Alert: Be Ready For SRC Vote on Charter Expansion

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Charter expansion means more school closings.  photo credit: Progress Illinois

The SRC will be voting on 40 new charter applications but we don’t know when. The public has a right to know when this will be. We need to demand that there be prior notice and that it is held at a time when most people can attend. We will be turning out for that meeting to demand the SRC does not accept any new charter applications. We need:

  • Meaningful regulation to prevent fraud and insure transparency
  • Full and fair funding that does not drain resources from neighborhood public schools
  • A level playing field that does not penalize traditional public schools

The SRC needs to take a stand and send the legislature and charter appeals board a strong message that until these questions are addressed Philadelphia must oppose charter expansion.

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Pledge to Vote for Candidates Who Support the PCAPS platform

Please sign this petition calling on candidates for Mayor and Council to support the PCAPS platform that demands the schools our children and families need.

https://www.change.org/p/candidates-for-mayor-and-city-council-in-philadelphia-support-the-pcaps-election-platform-we-demand-the-schools-our-children-and-families-need

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