Philadelphia students march again as cuts loom

Philadelphia school funding rally

May 17, 2013 2:39:09 PM PDT
An estimated 1,000 students in the Philadelphia School District took their message to Broad Street on Friday, calling for more funding for city schools.

"The message I want to give them is that even though we are youth we have power, and we came here to use it today," said student Cierra Mallette.

The students marched to the school district headquarters and City Hall, demanding the district fix its financial woes.

Their fear is if the $300 million budget gap is not dealt with, a so-called 'doomsday budget' will be adopted.

In that scenario, most teachers would stay, but staffers such as counselors to nurses would be cut, along with art, music and after-school activities.

"We need counselors. Next year I'm going to be a senior and I'm going to be filling out college applications and I'm not going to have a counselor to help me with financial aid," said student Sharon Snyder.

Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Nutter suggested raising drink and cigarette taxes to help fund the schools.

On Friday, City Council members discussing raising use and occupancy business taxes on some larger firms instead.

The school district also wants pay concessions from the teachers union of 5 to 13 percent, but teacher's union president Jerry Jordan says that's not going to happen.

"It's not a possibility. Our members are very clear," said Jordan.

The district said it needs help from three entities: the union, the city government and the state.

So far, it appears the only entity that is talking so far is the city.