Parents United for Public Education
Parents United for Public Education
 Parents are WatchingGreetings!

For the past two weeks, Parents United for Public Education has kicked into high gear around the District budget crisis, and look what a difference it's made:


  1. We've clarified a message and set clear priorities around full day kindergarten, free transportation and more money for local schools.
  2. We've won a victory in ensuring free transpasses for students! Parents met with SEPTA's General Manager and won a commitment from SEPTA and the District that this issue will be resolved.
  3. The Mayor and City Council have responded to our call for improving local funds to schools - something which was barely on the radar just three weeks ago.
  4. Our call for accountability has support in Council: no blank check bailout of the District! We need strings attached to new funding.
  5. We helped bring out dozens of parent voices - 130 people signed up to speak at City Council; the week before only 15 had signed up!

These issues have been covered in multiple media outlets from WHYY, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Metro, and Fox29 among others.


Now it's time to take our message to the District.



Follow us on Twitter


 Check out our Campaign FY2012 Budget page website


Read Helen Gym's blog at the Public School Notebook


Email us!


 Parents United

working for you!



 An independent voice for parents reflected here:


"Deal is near on transit passes," Inquirer, May 28



"SEPTA and Phila. schools optimistic about funding student transpasses," NewsWorks, May 27


"Community urges Council to increase District's funds," Inquirer, May 26


"City Leaders seek alternative solutions to close School District's deficit," Phila. Weekly, May 25


"Today's public testimony might really matter," It's Our Money, May 25


"District seeks funding from Council, Nutter," Inquirer, May 24


Columnist Helen Gym, "High Noon: How the District can help itself," Daily News, May 23


Listen: Helen Gym/Radio Times: Public School Funding update, May 4


"Parents blast District budget," Inquirer, May 4










Chief of Staff, Erin Davis

Robert Archie

 Denise Armbrister

 Joseph Dworetzky

 Johnny Irizarry


Chief Education Officer, Lori Shorr: 215-686-0333


City Council

Jannie Blackwell:



Darrell Clarke:



Frank DiCicco:



Wilson Goode:



Bill Green: 215-686-3420


William Greenlee:



Curtis Jones Jr.:



Jack Kelly: 215-686-3452


James Kenney:



Joan Krajewski:



Donna Reed Miller:



Brian O'Neill:



Maria Quinones Sanchez:



Blondell Reynolds Brown:



Frank Rizzo:



Marian Tasco:



Anna Verna:


On Tuesday, the District plans to pass a budget that eliminates full day kindergarten, all yellow school buses, and cuts 29% of local school budgets contributing to the loss of 3,800 personnel. Meanwhile, the School Reform Commission has been passing resolutions that protect contracts and pet programs costing millions.  We need an SRC that protects the public interest.   



School Reform Commission Meeting
to pass the FY2012 budget
Tues., May 31st, 5 p.m.
440 N. Broad Street
Call 215-400-4500 to testify
Email your thoughts:



This budget is not for our kids!


Schools are losing scores of music programs and giving up librarians, nurses and teachers from our schools. But this year alone, the School Reform Commission has approved millions of dollars in questionable contracts and programs like:

  • $4.7 million to buy textbooks for an 18-day summer program;
  • $2.2 million for Achieve3000, a contract which didn't even exist two years ago;
  • $1.4 million in seemingly new initiatives ranging from mentoring programs to an online literacy and math program to a teen program led by Oprah Winfrey's partner Stedman Graham.
  • $165,000 for marketing consultants and public relations consulting, adding to nearly $700,000 in communications consulting overall.

What's our message?

  1. Impose a moratorium on all non-essential contracts, consultants and programs: If the District can't afford to maintain a base level of funds for schools, then it shouldn't be hiring consultants and starting up new programs and initiatives.
  2. Restore the 29% cut in the school based budgets: Help schools weather this crisis by minimizing the cut to local school's discretionary funds and allowing them the flexibility to choose their funding needs.
  3. Set priorities on essential programs. We need to ensure essentials like full day kindergarten, early childhood ed and discretionary funds for schools rather than prioritizing $24 million for extra hours and Saturday school at Promise Academies, $23 million in an 18-day summer program, and countless dollars in test prep and communications.

Let the District know:

    Support our schools, not contracts!


UPDATE: Campaign to

Restore free transportation!


You helped Parents United identify the restoration of yellow school buses and free transpasses as an essential priority. Here's what we've done:
  • Started a petition to City Council which has gained over 1,200 signatures from every zip code in the city, and received mention in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Engaged in partnership with the Philadelphia Archdiocese on the issue, resulting in a public statement Friday by Cardinal Rigali urging resolution to the issue!
  • Met with the SEPTA Board and gained a private meeting with SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey who heralded the free transpass program and committed to finding a resolution with the District on the issue. Casey also pointed out that the program is 100% reimbursed by the state and SEPTA and should not be an issue on the table.
  • Lobbied city leaders including Lori Shorr, Chief Education Officer, and City Council members Bill Green, Blondell Reynolds Brown, Jannie Blackwell, Maria Quinones Sanchez, and Curtis Jones, Jr. over the issue. We spoke separately with staffers for Council members Marian Tasco, Frank Rizzo, Frank DiCicco, Darrell Clarke, William Greenlee, and Wilson Goode, Jr. as well. This resulted in City Council members questioning the District over the transpass program and making it clear this is a priority issue!

On Saturday, the District and SEPTA announced that the program will likely "not be eliminated." (Philadelphia Inquirer, May 28, 2011) 



Were you shocked by the District's latest fiasco - an IRS audit into its accounting practices? That came at the same time that our transpass issue was admittedly 100% reimbursed by the state and SEPTA. It's a reason why parents need to maintain an independent voice for our schools. District-run machines like ProtectPhillyEd can only go so far and contain a limited message when they involve District officials in high ranking positions. KEEP YOUR VOICE INDEPENDENT!
What can you do? 
  1. Testify! Our voices matter. We need parent voices at the May31st 5 p.m. School Reform Commission meeting to pass the FY2012 budget.
  2. Lobby! We are focused on three areas:
    • Call upon the state to maintain the basic education subsidy and ensure full day kindergarten.
    • Call upon the city to boost local funding and restore free transportation to all school age students in the city.
    • Call upon the District to prioritize the restoration of the 29% local cuts to each individual school.

3. Organize your school! Send the message that the FY2012 budget does NOT represent your school's interest. Email the SRC:


4. Get Public! Write a letter to the editor, call into your local radio station, start talking about the budget and whether $3 billion of public money is invested in our children and schools.




Parents United for Public Education is an independent all-volunteer collective of Philadelphia public school parents focused on creating an open and transparent budget process that reflects the real input of parent voices and places a fiscal priority on academic achievement and accountability in the classroom. We are committed to mobilizing parents to take an active role in school budget issues and lobbying civic and elected officials to improve public school funding and to prioritize academic achievement, accountability and public engagement.