Roxborough Corridor Parent Summit, May 2013. Photos: Matthew Hall Photography
Parents United for Public Education Newsletter
June 2013
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6/10 Harrisburg Call Day!
Mark your calendar for Monday, June 10th and take 10 minutes to do three things for public ed.
 

1. Call your State Senator: Tell him/her to support $270 million to start restoring the public school budget & fix the special ed formula (which has been flat funded for 5 years). 

2. Call your State Representative: The House has not made any real effort to support schools. Meanwhile, they're voting to cut corporate taxes by 30% and give themselves a $4 million raise in their funds. Express your disappointment.

3. Call Gov. Corbett's office: (717) 787-2500. Tell him that education is your top priority and he is on the wrong track. You expect more from PA's governor!

Parents United in the News

Philadelphia Magazine names Helen Gym one of 17 who "should run for Mayor", 6/1


Powel students deliver a message about the arts to City Council, NBC, 5/30
 


Lauren Tom coordinates Roxborough Corridor Parent Summit on school funding, Roxborough Review, 5/21. See photos from the event .
 
Sabra Townsend, Rebecca Poyourow speak out at Roxborough Corridor Parent Summit, AOL PATCH, 5/20

Rebecca Poyourow decries District budget priorities, Inquirer, 5/17

Helen Gym: "Amid financial crisis, Pearson a winner" Notebook, 5/17

Students from schools across the District visit City Hall for schools, Notebook, 5/15
 
Fantastic op-ed by Rebecca Poyourow: "Education cuts taking a toll," Inquirer, 5/10
 


Photo: Matthew Hall Photography
Greetings!

This is it. The next two weeks are a final push for calls and visits around school funding at both the City and state level.

So far we have zero guarantees from either our City or state elected officials. City officials so far have only OK'd a minor tax on cigarettes, which requires Harrisburg approval. Senate Democrats are proposing a budget that includes the full $120 million for Philadelphia but it's an uphill battle to get it approved in Harrisburg.

Frustrating as it is, every day someone is calling Council giving them a reason NOT to fund schools. Our job is to out-lobby the lobbyists.

WE NEED YOUR VOICES MORE THAN EVER.

TAKE ACTION! Focus on City Council: $60 million guarantee for schools.
  1. Call Council President Darrell Clarke, your Council rep and every at-large member to support ALL the school funding proposalsLiquor-by-the-drink and the Use & Occupancy tax are necessary and important parts of any funding package. Both are vigorously opposed by the Chamber of Commerce. Pls demand that Council use every option to guarantee school funding.  
  2. Testify at City Council: Wed., June 5th 2 p.m. for liquor-by-the-drink tax and Thurs., June 6 and Thurs. June 13 at 11 a.m. for the Use & Occupancy bill. Council needs to see that public ed has public support. 
  3. Call members of the Philadelphia delegation: Let them know you want them to support these measures in Philadelphia and ask them for an update on how things are looking in Harrisburg.  Please call this week and next. 
     
It's critically important to have a strong show of public support. Council in particular faces heavy lobbying and needs to see that the public is watching their actions and expects results.  Remind them that you are invested in public education and that they must be as well.
 
See our Action Tool Kit for more information!

Sincerely,

Helen, Rebecca, Gerald and all of us at 
Parents United for Public Education









A stunning budget crisis of unimaginable proportions and a District and city and state misled by all the wrong priorities has us facing down perhaps the most significant challenge to public education we've seen in the 12 years of a state takeover that once promised Philadelphia parents the world. Every single school in this city, from the most struggling to our most elite magnet school, has been impacted by a devastating budget that has stripped away the most fundamental elements of schooling: No sports, arts or music. No counselors, librarians, assistant principals, deans, or secretaries. No allotment for books and supplies.

 

WHAT'S IN THE ACTION TOOLKIT?

Whether you're starting out with 5, 15, or 50 parents, every voice makes a difference right now. Our Action Toolkit gets you started in the following ways:

  • Build your local school network: Form a phone tree, connect with other parents and teachers, build a visible presence for your school.
  • Target your local elected officials: Contact info for your elected officials. They hear everyday from specialized interests who DON'T want them to make tough decisions on our schools. They need to hear from PARENTS as an important and vocal constituency demanding that they support District-managed public education.
  • A basic funding plan for the City: Get info to support the Sanchez Use & Occupancy bill in addition to the Mayor's plan for state-approval-required sin taxes on liquor and cigarettes. We need a school funding
    guarantee!
  • A strategy for building statewide outreach and support for state funding for public education.

District "Doomsday Budget" passes
Parent activism pushes back on SRC

The District's Doomsday Budget passed despite concerns from the School Reform Commissioners themselves about whether their budget met constitutional mandates to provde a basic and appropriate education. Only Commissioner Joseph Dworetzky voted against the budget, saying that the SRC could do more to protect schools.

Stripped from the budget are all staff except for the school principal, mandated teachers, and legally mandated personnel (such as school police, special education and ELL staff). Gone are all guidance counselors, secretaries, asst. principals, NTAs and librarians. Also gone are itinerant music programs, gifted support, and funds for books and supplies.

The SRC was clear that this budget would be amended before September based on new funds coming in. It serves as little comfort to many of us at the school level who expected our children's education to be protected especially in hard times.

Read Rebecca Poyourow's excellent op-ed in the Philadephia Inquirer: "Education Cuts Taking a Toll."

Read Helen Gym's post in the Notebook about the District's misguided priorities: "Amid financial crisis, Pearson a winner."

Parents United for Public Education |  www.parentsunitedphila.com


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