Two thousand parents, students, educators, clergy, and community and labor leaders from across Pennsylvania came to the State Capitol on Tuesday, June 25 to demand that the Corbett Administration and the General Assembly make education funding a top priority in the 2013-14 state budget.
The Corbett Administration has cut $1 billion in funding for public education over the previous two budgets, forcing School Districts to cut programs, layoff approximately 25,000 teachers, nurses, and guidance counselors, and raise property taxes in School Districts across Pennsylvania. Approximately two-thirds of Pennsylvania’s School Districts are seeking waivers from the PA Department of Education for permission to increase property taxes. Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, criticized the Governor for stressing the importance of pursuing a college education while his budget cuts have resulted in the layoffs of guidance counselors who help thousands of students to prepare for and enroll in college.
Approximately two thousand people from cities and towns throughout the state came here to meet with their legislators and participate in the rally. Participants formed a human chain that encircled the State Capitol to show their commitment to making full funding of public education a top priority for this state budget.
Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale told the people that the entire labor movement across Pennsylvania is united in their support for full funding of public education. Jack Shea, President of the Allegheny County Labor Council, AFL-CIO and Elizabeth McElroy, Secretary-Treasurer of the Philadelphia Council, AFL-CIO stood with President Bloomingdale as he spoke.
The Day of Action was organized by PCAPS (Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools) and GPS Pittsburgh (Great Public Schools Coalition), along with parent groups, student organizations and unions.