Today at 4 pm, PCCY (Public Citizens for Children and Youth) organized students from Central, Kensington CAPA, Science Leadership Academy and other schools joined teachers, advocates, and parents in front of City Hall after the School District of Philadelphia suffered another casualty of the budget cut. In the rain, their voices rang true in response to the death of a first grade boy at Jackson Elementary located in South Philly that only has a nurse every Thursday and every other Friday. The students came out with signs and speakers to remind City Council and Governor Corbett that they should extend the 1% sales tax indefinitely and that Pennsylvania needs a fair funding formula now!
Sandy Tang, a student from Central High School stated, “Save our Schools.” She reminded us that the school year began with “chaos, stress, tension, and over packed classrooms. Teachers doing the work of 5 or 6 people. Invest in our kids now!”
200 million will only give our schools the bare bones of what is needed. A parent from Masterman spoke about the crowded conditions despite their school ranking the highest in the city. Masterman lost 25% of its funding. He started to chant, “1-9-5…keep our schools alive.” And the crowd echoed with fervor. Gretchen Elise Walker wants the city to follow through with the approval from Harrisburg.
Principals are trading for the basics: toilet paper, paper, and soap. Anissa Weinraub spoke about “Our children being an experiment, our children will not be your experiment in educational deprivation.” No child or adult should have to work in such abject conditions. No parent should send their child to school not knowing if they may fall victim to a tragedy.
Contact city council and let them know your feelings. Encourage them to not split the sales tax and to fully fund the schools. Visit the PCCY (Public Citizens for Children and Youth) web page for more information about how you can “Raise your hands for kids.” Every small and large effort counts.
This is a movement that requires all of us to take a stand so that no more children die on our watch. As the students roared today, “Enough is enough!”