On June 21st outside the steps of the School District Headquarters, over 200 people met for the first ever People’s School Reform Commission (SRC) meeting. Teachers, parents, community members and students took back local, democratic control of OUR District and demanded full funding of our schools.
In this moment of budget cuts and massive teacher and staff lay-offs, the School District continues to make decisions to dismantle our public schools — eliminating vital school-based programs while funding unproven pet projects, and eroding public and elected officials’ confidence in the District’s administration to handle additional funding.
At the meeting, dozens spoke out, sharing personal stories and showing the true, human side of the budget cuts and layoffs.
One student, Crystal Pulle, a 9th grader from Kensington Urban Education HS, said, “We’re losing many excellent teachers and programs at my school. Next year, when class size goes up, so will student frustration. Students will feel like they’re getting even less attention, behavior issues will increase, and even more students will drop out. I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to fight for a quality education for my fellow students and me.”
People’s Commissioner, Rev. Jesse Brown gave voice to the People’s frustrations, “We refuse to let the District, city and state sell out our students, teachers and communities to the highest bidder in order to balance their budget.”
The People’s SRC voted and passed their one resolution:
Whereas, the School District has created this crisis by mismanaging funds;
And whereas the Pennsylvania state government has shown decreasing investment in public education;
And whereas there ARE resources available to fund an excellent public school system in Philadelphia;
Resolved: We will fully and equitably fund schools by following these three steps:
Step #1: The state government will provide money to Philadelphia schools by:
- Using money from the state’s rainy day fund — there IS a surplus of MILLIONS of DOLLARS!
- By taxing companies profiting from the Marcellus Shale gas boom,
- And by not building the three planned new prisons that will cost $685 million