By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Parents of students in the Philadelphia School District departed for Harrisburg Wednesday morning — carrying thousands of letters written by children from 1st through 12th grades — to try to convince state lawmakers to support increased funding for the city’s public schools.

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They’re taking some 4,000 letters to Harrisburg. Some of the children who wrote those letters will read them in the Capitol Rotunda.

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Hoping it gets lawmakers’ attention, mom Sarah Stuart calls it heartbreaking to read some of them, as children talk about why school means so much to them:

“They only get one chance at an education and inflicting this kind of pain on them is just not something we as parents are willing to tolerate.”

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This comes as the district is planning to cut teachers’ aides, school nurses, art, music and sports in an effort to close a $304-million budget gap.