WHAT: Memorial prayer service – with clergy and lay leaders, public school parents, teachers, administrators and students praying, singing and mourning the potential loss to our children’s future if education cuts to local school districts continue; legislative visits.
WHEN: Tuesday, June 10th, 11:00am
WHERE: Pennsylvania State Capitol Rotunda, North 3rd St. & State St., Harrisburg, PA 17120
WHO: Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild (visit http://www.powerphiladelphia.org)
Two schools which lost full-time nurses in Philadelphia experienced two tragic student deaths in past year. This is not just a Philadelphia problem: 94% of the state’s 500 school districts do not have adequate funding to fully educate their children. In Delaware County, the spending gap between the wealthiest and the poorest districts is $100,000 per classroom. Together, all 15 school districts in Delaware County are $45M short of adequate funding and all have had to raise property taxes as a result.
"Continued funding cuts spell the death of Pennsylvania's children's future" says Rev. Dr. Mark Kelly Tyler, Senior Pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia - the nation's oldest African American church - a leader in the POWER organization.
School funding is now a top priority of Pennsylvania citizens, surpassing job creation, and has pushed its way to the forefront of this year’s gubernatorial and legislative races. State policy-makers can begin crafting a full, fair funding formula so that local school districts can adequately educate their children, curb rising property taxes and give all Pennsylvania children – regardless of race or zip code – an equal shot at getting a good education. To avoid the death of our children’s future, faith leaders will call on state policy makers to enact a full, fair funding formula by 2015, starting today.
VISUALS: Faith leaders holding signs with Scripture quotes (“Those who mock the poor insult their Maker”). Children holding signs (“Do I have a Future in PA?”). Parents holding signs (“Pennsylvania is worth more than this”!). Clergy holding signs (“We pray for schools; now it’s your job to fund them”). Banners. Clergy in full religious regalia.