PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A crowdfunded billboard ripping the city and the school district is now up along on I-95.
The billboard on southbound I-95 past the Girard Avenue exit says, “Welcome to Philadelphia, where we don’t value our public schoolchildren. 5+ years without a raise for our teachers.”
Central High School social studies teacher George Bezanis raised $5,000 for the ad on a GoFundMe page.
“Everyone said, ‘Enough is enough.’ We’ve gone way too long without a contract or with any type of raise,” Bezanis said. “Our debts are just insurmountable and it’s time that we did something.”
The teachers union has been working without a contract since 2013, and Bezanis hopes the ad will create public pressure for an agreement.
“People are going to see that billboard. They’re going to talk,” Bezanis said. “A lot of people that I’ve spoken to, Philadelphians, had no idea that teachers have gone five years without a raise.”
School District spokesman Lee Whack, in a statement, said, “The School District of Philadelphia has put a $150 million contract offer on the table with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. This offer includes raises for all members across the life of the contract. But we must remain mindful of the funding limits we have been given by city and state funders, and those limits do not include an additional $400 million to meet what is demanded by PFT leadership.”