By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A state lawmaker wants to help the City of Philadelphia raise money for the school district by tracking down tax deadbeats.
State Senator Mike Stack stood in the lobby of Abraham Lincoln High School surround by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers officials, teachers, parents and students to announce a five-bill package he says will help the School District of Philadelphia fill its blistering $300 budget hole.
“If we pass the legislation we can attach a lien, which means we can sell the property or we can get their wage garnished or we can attach to their bank account,” said Stack.
Stack says the bill could help free up a total of $400 million in combined delinquent property, business and wage, but even if it passes, it could take a while before the schools feel relief.
Lincoln Special Education teacher Louise Jordan says the schools need a short-term solution to stop the bleeding that would occur if the School Reform Commission’s budget passes this week.
“We’re losing 23 teachers, seven counselors, six secretaries and we have three secretaries that weren’t even replaced. We don’t even have money in the budget for books,” said Jordan.
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan says parents or teachers are not giving up – they plan to fight to keep funding in the schools and to find both long-term and short-term solutions for lack of funding.
“Our students deserve to have art, music, counselors; they deserve to have a library that has a certified librarian,” said Jordan. “It is important that we have a sustainable system for public education not just in Philadelphia, but across the Commonwealth.”
Jordan says the PFT will join parents and students at School District Headquarters for a rally on Thursday to protest the SRC’s budget.