By Steve Tawa, Kelly Hessedal
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Public school advocates say while politicians ‘bicker’ about how the city should come up with $50 million to enable the Philadelphia School District to open classes on time, children deserve more than three times that amount.
A rally was held outside the Philadelphia School District Headquarters Monday.
The Reverend Kevin Johnson of Bright Hope Baptist Church had a message to the Governor, state lawmakers and the city of Philadelphia.
“Get off your behind, and get the funding for our children,” said Rev. Johnson.
Sharron Snyder, 18, is going into her senior year at Benjamin Franklin High School.
“These cuts are destroying my future. They’re destroying all of our futures. It’s not right. It’s not fair,” said Snyder.
She says she wants to go on to college.
“Since they cut by counselor, I won’t have anyone there to help me with my college application,” Snyder said.
“There is a panic, from the pulpit to the pew to the public square,” said Reverend Jay Broadnax, pastor of Mt. Piscah AME Church in West Philadelphia.
“We’re tired of being put off by those who would prioritize political positioning, and not prioritize our children,” said Rev. Broadnax.
Clergy leaders, members of community groups, parents and students say the District needs a $180 million funding package – and a more sustainable, long-term funding solution.
They say if they settle for $50 million to open schools on time, it’ll lead to more school closings, larger class sizes, and smaller staffs.
“We need to make education the number one issue in the governor’s race,” said Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Hermann.
Kia Hinton is an Action United member and mother to three school children.
“In the second grade, my daughter was in a class of over 30 students, and just about half of that class was held back for the year,” said Hinton.
If a short-term funding solution is not found by Friday, Schools Superintendent Hite says he’ll have to alter the school calendar.