Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An Open Letter to Mayor Nutter

Dear Mayor Nutter,

I am a Philadelphia School District teacher, parent, resident, and registered Democratic voter who found your remarks from last week's press conference regarding the situation with the district to be extremely insulting. You stated that I and my fellow teachers in the PFT are the only ones who have yet to financially contribute to the school funding solution. What gall!

Last year, the PFT gave $58 million to the financially strapped School District, more than the city and state, combined, have contributed thus far. Here's the article in case your memory fails you:  That money, by the way, came from the PFT's Health & Welfare Fund, managed by the union and the union's accountants. The PFT keeps sound financial footing and makes sure to keep its books in check, which resulted in that surplus. Unfortunately, the SRC cannot do the same with the District's books but they don't seem to mind... They would rather balance them on the backs of the hardworking members of the PFT.

On top of that, I must buy my school supplies every year for an underfunded and understaffed school building while continuing to work under sub-standard conditions and lower pay than my counterparts in other districts. What kind of professional, other than a Philadelphia school teacher, is FORCED to buy their own copy paper, year in and year out. I have bought my classroom computer out of my own pocket and a projector out of my own pocket, just so my students aren't compelled to learn under a 20th century model without the slightest access to technology. In a GOOD year, I spend over $1000 out of my own salary on basic supplies and upkeep for my vastly underfunded school - housed in a building, by the way, that dates from the 1930s. Now, you expect me and my colleagues to give up nearly 15% of our salary because of a manufactured state crisis which we did not create?

I am attaching a picture of the boxes of paper I must buy in order to have a successful school year, again out of my own pocket.

In closing, Mr. Mayor, let me ask you... WHAT HAVE YOU CONTRIBUTED OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET?

--George Bezanis

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