Scranton teachers fight for funding

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Hundreds of teachers, parents, and students combined gathered Monday night to demand funding from the state.

Chants of “we need funding” and “do the right thing” were heard in front of Scranton High School Monday night.

Pat Festa, the Vice President of the Scranton Federation of teachers, says “It’s not just one concern. There are four main concerns and I think we really try to pinpoint that tonight”

Scranton teachers say they are standing up for public education.

“We need fair funding, which then would lead to healthy schools, reformed schools,” says Dawn Hafner, a sixth-grade teacher at South Intermediate.

The Scranton Federation of Teachers Local 1147 is making multiple demands. They are asking the state for healthy schools for teachers and students to work and learn in.

“We expect them to fund our district fairly and they’re not being fair to Scranton and they certainly aren’t being fair to our students,” Rosemary Boland, Scranton Federation of Teachers, President.

Recent tests found lead and asbestos in some of its buildings forcing at least one to close.

They are also asking for the retention of a high-quality preschool program and fair contracts for their union.

“It’s been 3 years since we’ve had one,” says Festa.

Over 300 people showed up for the rally on President’s Day.

“Important issues will bring people out even on a holiday,” Festa adds.

“It shows we have such strong community support and that’s tremendous, says Boland. “It shows the teachers in Scranton and the parent professionals in Scranton are willing to stand outside tonight and rally for fair funding.”

“We are united with you in the continued fight for the funding we so desperately need and are committed to allocating these resources responsibly to achieve long-term sustainability of the Scranton School District,” Katie Gilmartin, School Board President says in a statement.

“Why is another district getting all this money and we get 500,000 we have over 10,000 kids in our district that doesn’t go far,” says Hafner.

Governor Tom Wolf proposed in early February, a billion-dollar initiative in the 2020-2021 budget to improve the health of schools in the commonwealth.

As safety concerns remain in about a dozen schools in the city.

“We cannot and will not ignore any lack of action in the past decades but we must move forward to solve the problems that have been laid at our feet,” Gilmartin adds.

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