By Jim Melwert and Dray Clark
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Teachers, students, parents and community leaders from Philadelphia boarded buses to Harrisburg this morning to rally in support of public school funding with groups from across Pennsylvania.
In addition to busloads from five high schools in Philadelphia, groups are also going from Pittsburgh, Scranton and other towns across the state.
Boarding a bus at University City High School, Anissa Weinraub, a seventh-year teacher who’s being laid off as part of the drastic budget cuts, calls this a tipping point for the public school system in Pennsylvania.
“We have an opportunity right now to set our priorities straight, to say that our kids and the future of education is more important than CEO’s pocketbooks and locking more people up,” Weinraub says.
Weinraub says she hopes all the different groups from all across the state will help sway state lawmakers.
Donna Matthews has taught in the Philadelphia School District for 22 years. She says she’s tired of hearing teachers being blamed for the massive hole in the school budget.
“We’re just asking that the state support us, we didn’t cause the deficit. We’re here, not because of anything we’ve done. We’ve done our job.”
Richard Williams who’s retiring this year as Assistant Manager of student records for the School District of Philadelphia, says it’s ridiculous to see all the layoffs of support staff and the cuts across the district.
“We can’t keep building these multi-million dollar prisons and no schools for the children. You’re closing schools for the children.”
Events today include a rally on the steps of the State Capitol, and participants encircling the capitol building.