Day One of the Bus Tour for the Schools Our Children Deserve


The bus sprung a gas leak, the clouds threatened rain, but the Pennslyvania Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools bus tour launched anyway at Spring Garden School.

Speakers including Pastor Mark Tyler from Mother Bethel AME Church and POWER, Jerry Jordan, President of the PFT, Sheila Armstrong, Spring Garden parent and POWER leader, and Kia Hinton, Chair woman of ACTION United, spoke about the state of our schools and the need for full, fair, funding now. Passing a tax on Marcellus Shale and a funding formula that ends the racial and class disparities in the way education is funded in Pennsylvania were common themes.

The tour will go to over a dozen different communities across the state, culminating in Harrisburg on June 29th when an occupation of the capitol focused on getting the state legislature to pass a budget. will begin.

For regular updates on the tour and the fight for the state budget go to:

Pictures from the incomparable Harvey Finkle

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Comcast Needs To Pay It’s Fair Share

A broad coalition, including PCAPS, held a press conference yesterday at City Hall, then spread out to lobby Council members to press Comcast to extend internet access and support our schools as part of a franchise agreement with the City. One of the coalition’s demands is for Comcast to pay for the staffing of a technology teacher and leader at District schools.

For more information on the campaign go to:

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Rally for The Schools Our Children Deserve!

Monday, June 15th, 3:30p.m.

Spring Garden School 1146 Melon St

Kick Off Of The State Bus Tour for School Funding


Students Painting Bus in Pittsburgh for its trip around the state

Schools like Spring Garden Elementary have been hard hit with years of budget cuts. This year we have a chance to get the resources our children need. Governor Wolf has proposed a tax on Marcellus shale and other measures to raise over a billion dollars in new revenue for education in a budget that should be passed no later than July 1. But a Republican controlled legislature is blocking the road.

AROS PA, a state wide coalition of 29 groups, has organized a state wide bus tour the last two weeks in June to demonstrate that people across our state, in cities, suburbs, and rural areas, want investment in schools and expect their elected representatives to do the right thing and vote for this budget.

The first stop is Philadelphia where parents, school staff and community members will rally and get on the bus to call and write their elected officials. The last stop will be Harrisburg on July 29th.

For regular updates on the tour and the fight for the state budget go to:

pacpslogo2          AROS logo_facebook

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Fair Funding Needed From City Council

PCAPS is trying to set up meetings and organize lobbying of Council. If you can help let us know.


                           What We Want From City Council

1.We recognize and appreciate Council’s past support in stepping in to fill the gap caused by the Corbett budget cuts and the state’s failure to adopt the fair, full budget we need.

2.Nevertheless more is needed.   We support the District’s call for $105 million more in city.   In conjunction with the additional money that will come from the state if the Governor’s budget is passed, this can begin to reverse the decline of our schools.

  1. However we have differences with the SRC and the District over how that money should be spent.   The highest priority should be restoring the lost positions of nurses, counselors, certified librarians, and teachers so that our schools are well staffed.   The District plan to contract out nursing services should be opposed by Council.   We also are opposed to charter expansion and call for investment in neighborhood public schools, including the creation of sustainable community schools beginning in high poverty neighborhoods.

4.When it comes to revenue for the schools, we oppose the whole burden being borne by working class homeowners. We should first look for revenue from the following sources:

  • Increasing the Use and Occupancy tax on big corporate landlords to cancel out the tax windfall they got from AVI two years ago. This could raise up to $42.5 million
  • Raise taxes on center city parking garages and lots.   Land is under-assessed which encourages speculation and restricts the kind of development that would increase revenue.   Increasing these taxes could raise $7.5 million
  • PILOTS: Council should call for the mega-non profits who are among the city’s biggest property owners to financially support the schools, not as a form of charity, but as a regular and recurring contribution.   $10 million would be a reasonable goal.
  • As a condition for renewing its cable franchise, Comcast should commit to contributing to the District’s technology budget including the salaries for high school technology leaders and mobile laptops for schools. This could amount to $7 million in dedicated revenue for the District.
  1. Provided there is some significant shared sacrifice, then we would support a modest residential property tax increase ($3.75 per month on the median property), an increase that should be canceled out the following year with the tax relief the Governor is proposing.

6.   These ideas were put forward during the recent primary campaign by Helen Gym who won nomination for a City Council at large seat, an indication of broad support for a fair share revenue plan.

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YUC Students Press Demand To Make Kensington Urban a Community School


Students came to City Council yesterday to make their case that the District needs to keep the Kensington small schools intact and, beginning with Kensington Urban Education, transform them into sustainable community schools.

Unfortunately by the time they got to speak the room was nearly empty. It is ironic that while dozens of adults including Council members were full of opinions about what students need, listening to the passionate and articulate young people from YUC, was not a high priority.

An exception was Maria Quinones Sanchez who spoke eloquently after the students and called on Council to take seriously the arguments for maintaining the small school vision and recognized the important work YUC does to insure that student voice is heard.

Also present was a delegation from Philadelphia Student Union in solidarity with the YUC students.   PCAPS coordinator and YUC Board President Ron Whitehorne also gave testimony.   Whitehorne was part of a panel that included Helen Gym and Philadelphia School Partnerhsip Director Mark Gleason.   Both Gym and Whitehorne called for more funding, including demands that corporations and mega non profits pay their fair share.  Gleason  was roundly booed and interupted when he called for a new round of school closings.

The SRC will vote next month on the administration’s plan to merge Kensington Urban with Kensington Business.

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Come To City Council Budget Hearings This Wednesday


YUC students outside Kensington CAPA last year

Support Youth United for Change: Don’t Close Kensington Urban Education High,

Demand the Schools Our Families Need: Sustainable, Community Schools

Full, Fair Funding for Our Schools – Corporations and the rich need to pay their fair share

10 am, Wednesday, City Council chambers, 4th floor City Hall

Youth United for Change is fighting to prevent the closing of Kensington Urban High School, one of the four “small schools” the students won in a long fight over ten years ago. They are demanding instead of closing the school, it be transformed as a community schools that would retain the close student staff relationships in small schools, but add more supports and stronger community partnerships. Urban would be a pilot, leading to all the small Kensington schools becoming community schools.

YUC has been on the front lines of so many of the struggles for education justice. We need to support them now as they fight to defend an important past victory and as they take up the demand for community schools.

We also, as City Council turns to the budget, need to demand more school funding by targeting, not already overtaxed working people, but corporations and the rich. Specifically we need to end tax abatements for the likes of Comcast and condo developers, reform the use and occupancy tax to get back the tax windfall corporate landlords got under AVI, and create PILOTS so that mega non profits pay for schools and city services.

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Are School Nurses On the District Chopping Block?



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


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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