Teacher group to host community budget mtg

From Teacher Action Group's Joseph Ciesielski:

Teacher Action Group (TAG) will host a Community Budget Forum on Wednesday, March 23 at 6p.m., at Calvary United Methodist Church (48th Street and Baltimore Avenue) to address the budget crisis in the School District of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia School District is anticipating a deficit of $456 million next year.

Drastic changes are on the way. Many observers of the school district anticipate school closings, massive layoffs, significant cuts to school budgets and an increase in class sizes. Despite the fact that the impact on classrooms across the district will be deep, the School District has stated that the top priority is moving ahead with the Imagine 2014 plan, expanding programs which cost the District $126 million dollars last year in the first year.

The controversial measures of the Renaissance Schools Initiative, which cost the district $20 million dollars this year, have been expanded from 13 to 31 schools.

To deal with this budget crisis, a community based solution is needed. The TAG is working with Action United and Education Not Incarceration-Delaware Valley to host a Community Budget Forum which will provide an opportunity for authentic community involvement. Concerned individuals and groups must insist on having their voices heard by those that are making the decisions regarding this budget. These decisions need to be informed by community input.

As a follow-up to the Community Budget Forum, input from the event will be compiled into an open letter to the School District, the SRC and local and state legislators. Our leaders need to held accountable for their decisions by the community.

At the event, a number of panelists will speak to the issue of the current budget crisis from different perspectives. Panelists include City Controller Alan Butkovitz, State Representative James Roebuck, former School District administrator and University of Pennsylvania professor Dr. “Torch” Lytle, a representative from the PFT, an attorney from the Education Law Center and a student at a public school in Philadelphia.

For more information, email Joseph at jtcies@gmail.com.