SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – As they begin their second year without a contract, teachers in the Scranton School District are beginning to fight back.
Hundreds of educators took to the street Friday to send a message to the superintendent and school board.
The 400-block of North Washington Avenue, right outside the district administration building, was filled with hundreds of teachers Friday afternoon.
Wearing red shirts that say “Stand Up for Public Education,” educators say they want a new contract.
“This is about classrooms, students, teachers, parents. Those are our issues and they don’t seem to know that. Our school board is deaf to it,” Rosemary Boland, President of the Scranton Federation of Teachers said.
The teachers’ union has already taken a vote and authorized a strike but it has not yet called for one.
Leaders say this event Friday is a “wake-up” call to administrators especially after more than a dozen teachers were recently furloughed.
Bryn Grabowski is one of them.
She used to teach elementary writing, social studies and science.
She feels fortunate because she was just called back but now is teaching art.
“I feel like my position is back in academics, K-6 more so, I’d be better at writing than art. I believe that an art teacher should be teaching art,” Bryn Grabowski said.
At a time when the district is coming under the microscope by state investigators, most recently resulting in the arrest of the district’s former fleet manager Dan Sansky who is charged with over-billing the district, some taxpayers even decided to join Friday’s rally.
Diana Harris walked with teachers because she believes too much money is being wasted.
“They’re going to have an investigation, we’re going to have to pay for an investigation, when the state already did it. I don’t think that is fair for the taxpayers,” Diana Harris of Scranton said.
Friday was an “in-service” day for teachers so many went right to the rally after their day was complete.
Efforts to reach Scranton School District Superintendent Dr. Alexis Kirijan in person and by email Friday were unsuccessful.
There are currently more than 900 employees in the Scranton School District who are now going into their second year without a new contract.