More parents have joined a hunger strike to protest layoffs in the Philadelphia school district.
The strike is entering its fifth day. Participants are drinking only water until the city and state supply funding to rehire 1,200 lunchtime aides.
The aides are among more than 3,800 school employees who will lose their jobs June 30 because of the district's $304 million deficit.
State and city officials are negotiating for more education funds, but no promises have been made.
Two parents and two district workers began fasting on Monday. Two additional parents joined the effort on Friday. They say aides play a crucial role in school safety by preventing fights and bullying.
The strikers are stationed in front of Gov. Tom Corbett's field office in downtown Philadelphia.
The district, the eighth largest in the United States, sent thousands of layoff notices on June 7. The district is eliminating all assistant principals, secretaries and guidance counselors. Nearly 700 teachers and more than 1,200 aides also got pink slips. The laid off employees won’t be back in September unless politicians can figure out how to fill the multi-million budget gap.
On Tuesday, the city council announced that they are promising the Philadelphia School District $74 million to save district jobs by implementing a $2 cigarette tax and delinquent taxes and fees owed to the city.