Newsletter April 2013

Have you seen your school's budget? The District's "doomsday" scenario has landed in our laps, and as usual, it's up to parents to set this ship aright.

There are three core areas to fix this year's school budgets.
  1. City must deliver $60 million to Philadelphia public schools: This is a challenge first, because the city has seen two consecutive years of tax increases and is currently grappling with concerns around AVI implementation. Second, Council and the Mayor (who is pushing the $60 million) aren't entirely on the same page. We need parent voices to prioritize schools even amidst other crises. (Take Action: April 29-30, Deadline: June 30)
  2. District must re-write its schools budget: Any budget which puts contracts ahead of District-managed public schools cannot be approved by parents. We need a concerted push to get the District to re-align its priorities. (Take Action: April 30, May 13, May 15, May 30; Deadline: May 30)
  3. State budget battle: The District has requested $120 million from Harrisburg, less than half the money lost from the state over the years. Nevertheless gaining even this much will require a significant effort both statewide and in alliance with charter parents. 
April 29, 10 a.m.
City Hall, 4th floor
District testimony on School Budgets
parent lobbying 12-1:30 p.m. 
Contact Parents United to join us!

April 30 10 a.m.
City Hall 4th floor
Public testimony on District budget
Call 215-686-3407 to register

April 30, 5:30 p.m.
SRC, 440 N. Broad Street
Public testimony on District budget
Call 215-400-4180 to testify
GET ORGANIZED! School budget hearings
Here's how awful local school budgets look for next year: 25% cuts across the board, no itinerant music, no sports, no secretaries or assistant principals. The budget is an outrage - putting up essential classroom needs in a dangerous game of brinksmanship. At the same time, both the City and State need to do more for our schools. Here's Parents United's suggestions for how to get active around school budgets, starting next week. We need your voice and we need your time, precious as it is, to bring a clear message to our elected leaders: Fund our schools and prioritize spending in schools and classrooms. Read more here.
Parents United wins case on BCG closings list
Remember the Boston Consulting Group? As part of their contract with the William Penn Foundation, BCG promoted massive charter expansion and identified 60 schools for closure.The District has consistently refused to release BCG's school closings list, arguing that the information was private and internal. Parents United, thanks to the invaluable help of our pro-bono lawyers at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, decided to pursue this case with the state Office of Open Records. Earlier this month, the state ruled in our favor, saying that the District had failed to prove the BCG list had not been shared with others and that it must be made public. It's a small victory with important consequences: School closings matter as much now as they will next year as we deal with school mergers and another likely round of school closings. Who had influence over this process is critical to understanding who's influencing District decisionmaking and whose interests are truly being served. Read our post here to learn more.
Opting out of high-stakes testing
Test vs. teach
2013 saw a renewed national backlash against standardized testing - from Seattle to New York City to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. Parents United member Tomika Anglin explains why she decided to end the testing insanity: "Why I opted out of the PSSA circus"
In This Issue
Get organized! School budget hearings
Parents United wins case on BCG closings list
Opting out of high-stakes testing
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Parents United for Public Education is an all-volunteer citywide parent group fighting for budgets that prioritize school and classroom investments. You can reach us at and find us at