Philadelphia teachers rally for funding in Harrisburg

Philadelphia teachers rally in Harrisburg
June 25, 2013 3:36:23 PM PDT
Philadelphia teachers and other school employees came to the Pennsylvania Stat House in Harrisburg on Tuesday hoping to talk to lawmakers and get more money for public education.

They didn't get the time with legislators they were hoping for, but they stood right on the steps of the state house and tried make their voices heard.

The crowd came from all over the state.

"You can't educate students with no funds," retired librarian Janet Malloy said.

"Children in any city anywhere in the country are entitled to a free public education and they're not getting that in Philadelphia at this point," kindergarten teacher Dan Dimartino said.

The teachers and other staffers from the Philadelphia School District boarded buses in the city in the early morning.

The School District is short over $300-million. Art, music, and a lot of other programs are all on the chopping block.

"What we'd like to do is just show some solidarity among the School District of Philadelphia as well as show them that we have a long standing national program," said laid-off music teacher Steven Hollenbach.

"Our children need nurses, they need teachers, they need sports, they need their education," retired teacher Sheila General said.

Teachers tried to visit with lawmakers, but most were busy.

Several teachers camped out in front of the Governor Tom Corbett's office to speak to him directly, but he was in budget meetings all day.

But we caught up with him during a photo opp with Keystone Boys State on the same step where teachers rallied just an hour before.

He had no comment.

On Tuesday evening, Corbett's press secretary Tim Eller sent Action News the following statement:

It's important to point out that Governor Corbett's proposed 2013-14 budget would invest more than $11.7 billion into Pennsylvania's education system, which represents more than 41 cents of every state taxpayer dollar going into education. Since taking office, Governor Corbett has increased the state's support of public schools by $1.25 billion, or 14.7 percent.

In addition, next year's state budget would increase the state's support of public schools by $341 million with nearly $60 million extra directed toward the School District of Philadelphia. State funding for public schools is at record levels.

Each year, Pennsylvanian's invest nearly $27 billion in federal, state and local taxes into the state's K-12 public education system.

Governor Corbett continues to work with lawmakers and city and school district officials to find a long-term solution to Philadelphia School District's funding challenges. The Governor is committed to ensuring that students have access to quality academic programs that will ensure their future success.

As for the teachers, they aren't giving up. They are threatening drastic measures if the state doesn't find more money for public schools.

"We want Pennsylvania to know that unless there is a change, the schools can't open in September under these conditions, they won't open in September under these conditions, we are prepared to go all the way," Hollenbach said.

We will know soon what if any additional funds the state will give schools.

The state's budget deadline is June 30th.


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