FILADELFIA - 12 de mayo de 2022 - Con Pennsylvania sentado en más de $ 8 mil millones en exceso de ingresos, y una clasificación nacional deprimente para la equidad escolar, el senador estatal Vincent Hughes y Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler celebró un mitin de financiación de la escuela antes del presupuesto en el sur de Filadelfia hoy para pedir el fin de las excusas rancias por no invertir en las escuelas.
En abril, Pensilvania recaudó más ingresos que en ningún otro mes de su historia, con lo que el superávit presupuestario superó los 8.000 millones de dólares, a falta de los ingresos de mayo y junio.
"Llevamos años escuchando al partido mayoritario en Harrisburg decir que no tenemos dinero para acabar con la disparidad y crear oportunidades para todos los estudiantes de Pensilvania", dijo Hughes. "Pues bien, ahora tenemos más dinero que en ningún otro momento de la historia de nuestra Commonwealth. Si no es ahora, ¿cuándo?".
Hughes and Fiedler, along with Sen. Nikil Saval, legislative colleagues, parents, students teachers and school employees rallied outside South Philadelphia’s Francis Scott Key Elementary School after school to call for an end to excuses and a new era of investment and equality for students in all schools.
“Right now, Pennsylvania has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to move the needle on public education. We can fully resource our schools, repair our crumbling buildings to be healthy and resilient, and alleviate the crushing long-standing burdens on school staff,” Saval said. “For decades our schools have weathered chronic disinvestment from our state and disrespect from the elected representatives who are supposed to be fighting for them. But enough is enough! Our state has a multibillion-dollar budgetary surplus. Our schools are at the heart of our communities, and we can make fully funded schools a reality for the sake of the students, families, teachers, and neighbors who depend on them.”
Participants in the rally said public-school students are desperate for increased supports – for more counselors, more teachers, more librarians, more building engineers, more cafeteria workers, more bus drivers – more trained professionals in their schools to ensure they’re being given the opportunities to succeed in a safe and healthy environment.
Additional participant testimonial:
“It’s time that our legislature take their constitutional responsibility seriously and finally ensure a thorough and efficient system of public education where all of our children have access to quality public education. Our current system is disproportionately harming PA’s Black and Brown students and students living in poverty. In Pennsylvania, the students who need the most get the least based on where they live. That’s unconstitutional. And our case has the potential to change the trajectory for generations of students in Pennsylvania! But the legislature doesn’t have to wait for a court decision. The time to act is now. In this year’s budget, the legislature must adequately and equitably fund public education.”
Deborah Gordon Klehr, Executive Director, Education Law Center
“Thanks to President Biden and his allies in Congress, our state government has never had so much money at its disposal. Pennsylvania House and Senate Republicans are hoarding it in the chance that their preferred gubernatorial candidate is elected and handing it out as tax breaks to wealthy people and corporations headquartered out of state. Instead, they should wake up and realize our schools need the money now. They need the money for remediation of toxins like lead, asbestos, and mold, and they need the money to ensure proper ventilation and physical distancing during a global health crisis that, despite our opposition’s best efforts, is still ongoing. The time is now. The money is there. Our students deserve for us to get it done.”
Arthur Steinberg, President of AFT Pennsylvania
“Our clients brought the school funding lawsuit because they believe in the promise of public education,” said Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg, staff attorney at the Public Interest Law Center. “Trial made it clearer than ever before that Pennsylvania does not live up to that promise, and it doesn’t have to be this way. Our leaders in Harrisburg should fund public schools like they believe in every student’s potential, no matter where they live.”
Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg, Staff Attorney, The Public Interest Law Center