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- "my budget puts teachers back in the classroom. It's that simple." - @GovernorTomWolf #PhlEd 1 day ago
“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
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.
PCAPS has released the following letter urging the School Reform Commission to reject all charter applications at its upcoming meeting. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
American Federation of Teachers PA
Boat People SOS
Media Mobilizing Project
Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
Philadelphia Student Union
Youth United for Change
AFSCME, District 1199-C
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools
PA Working Families
Philly School Counselors United
Friends of Jackson Elementary
Philadlelphia Jobs with Justice
Education Voters PA
Catherine Collins, public school parent,Co-founder & Moderator of the Mt. Airy Parents’ Network
Janet McHale, Parent of a 6th grader
Nick Palazzolo, Educator
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.
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.
School Board members were joined by parents, students and teachers last night at a local church to call for reversing the plan to turn over the District to a for profit charter school company. The courts are hearing the local Board’s appeal contesting the decision of school recovery officer and local businessman David Meckley to go forward with charter plan in spite of the elected Board’s voting against it. Speakers called for the removal of Meckley who was appointed by Tom Corbett. Parents and community people from both Philadelphia and Reading came in solidarity, all members of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools-PA.
Philly and Reading in the House
photo credit: Jessica Sabol
Kia Hinton, parent leader from ACTION United and PCAPS, delivers a message of solidarity. photo credit: York Dispatch.
For too long our city’s political leadership has settled for a two tier school system that consigns the majority of school children, most of whom are from poor families of color, to understaffed schools that lack the basic resources essential to a decent education. This situation is not inevitable but the result of political choices made by those we have elected. There is a different way.
Support Sustainable Community Schools
Sustainable Community Schools are neighborhood public schools that provide wrap around services for students and their families, engaging curriculum, positive behavior supports, and involvement of parents and the community in school decision making. We call for 10% of Philadelphia schools to become sustainable community schools over the next four years and for federal school improvement grants to be used exclusively for that purpose.
A Moratorium on Charter School Expansion
As a first step toward genuine accountability charter schools must be regulated to insure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and for the purpose of education. Legislation that creates meaningful audits and transparency is necessary. Moreover charter growth creates new budget challenges in the form of stranded costs that the District can ill afford. Finally charter school policy has created an uneven playing field in which traditional public schools are disadvantaged.
Full and Fair Funding
Robust revenue and a fair funding formula from the state are essential to improving our schools, but that doesn’t mean the City can’t do more. We call for reforming the use and occupancy tax to eliminate the tax windfall large commercial interests received with the implementation of the Actual Value Initiative, elimination of tax abatements on the schools portion of the property tax, and for PILOTS for mega non-profits. We call on our city’s most powerful corporation, Comcast, to pay its fair share to fund public schools as a condition of its new franchise agreement with the city
Equal Education Means Fighting For Racial and Economic Justice
The relationship between poverty and education outcomes requires that genuine education reform is linked with the fight for economic fairness. We call for a fifteen dollar minimum wage and support for the right of all workers to organize themselves in unions. We also call for ending the school to prison pipeline, short hand for zero tolerance discipline policies, racial profiling and a racially discriminatory criminal justice system that penalize young people of color.
Local Control of Schools
State control has failed to improve our schools and violates basic democratic principles. Philadelphians must have role in selecting who should govern our schools like citizens in virtually every other community in the state. ACT 46, the state control act, must be repealed and a democratic form of governance instituted in our city.