One Pennsylvania school district is still reeling from millions in state budget cuts last summer. Chester-Upland has dealt with money problems by furloughing more than 100 teachers and merging two high schools, but now the District says it doesn’t have the money to pay its teachers.
The latest financial crisis has spurred education activist Danyel Jennings, who works as a hospice care nurse and is the mother of two Chester Upland students, to launch a campaign on Change.org after learning that teachers in the district voted to continue working without pay.”Our school district is in serious trouble,” said Jennings. “Our goal is to draw attention as well as hopefully get the Governor to release maybe some emergency funds to at least pay our teachers so that we can finish our school year.”Chester Upland School District spokesman Joel Avery said steps have been taken to cut costs-but the only good news he can offer right now is:”No one has missed a paycheck yet. And I say the word ‘yet’ with caution because the school board is working around the clock with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to resolve this situation,” said Avery. “The Board announced that it would be unable to meet payroll beyond January 4th. And so the next scheduled pay date to watch out for is the 18th of January.”Avery applauded the teachers for what he called their “unselfish” decision to keep working.Parent Danyel Jennings said when she was young, Chester Upland was the place to be.”We were educated very well and we all believe that it can get back to that,” said Jennings. “Right now you’ll find that we’re a very poor school district and our children could be educated better. And we’re trying to get back on track and show people that Chester isn’t just a little city full of violence and poor education.”