Occupy Philadelphia rally protests school cuts

About 200 people organized by Occupy Philadelphia protested state funding cuts for education outside School District headquarters Thursday afternoon.

Some speakers addressed other issues, but the main thrust was education during the rally of Occupy protesters and union leaders at 440 N. Broad St.

Gov. Corbett's proposed budget would eliminate $21 million in funding - mainly used for full-day kindergarten and prekindergarten programs - for the Philadelphia School District. The district already faces a $61 million shortfall this school year.

Colleges that rely on state funding would lose about $147 million.

"What kind of leader sells off our children for the oil drillers?" said Eileen DiFranco, 60, a school nurse, referring to drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, called on the crowd to get involved in the political process.

Jordan said the legislature and governor would approve the cuts "unless we are organized, mobilized, and vocal."

Eileen Duffey, 56, another school nurse, said the cycle of funding cuts is segregating children by class and creating a "new underclass of children."

Citing funding for extracurricular activities that continues to shrink, she asked, "Who's going to get these opportunities? Just some of our children?"


Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.