Public testimony on Philly school funding an echo of past pleas

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 Students gather outside City Council chambers before the Wednesday meeting. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Students gather outside City Council chambers before the Wednesday meeting. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Dozens of students and teachers showed up before Philadelphia City Council Wednesday to make a plea on behalf of city schools. 

Students carrying handmade signs calling for funds for art, music and dance classes sat in the rear of council chambers while people such as Philadelphia Federation of Teachers head Jerry Jordan testified.

Jordan said he’s sorry to come back with the same request for more money every year, but nothing has changed.

“It is outrageous that some of our larger schools are still operating with one counselor and one school secretary,” said the union chief. “Programs that are standard at other districts, such as SAT preparation classes and extracurricular activities, are considered luxuries here in Philadelphia.”

City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell expressed sympathy.

“A principal should not have to choose between a math teacher and a nurse,” she said.

However, Council members seem to be united against Mayor Michael Nutter’s plan to raise property taxes again to generate about $100 million more in additional revenue for the schools.

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