Emma Lee | NewsWorks.org
A rally at DeBurgos Elementary School draws about 60 parents, students and educators. The rally is the first of several that the teachers' union plans to hold at different neighborhood schools throughout the city.
Philadelphia teachers rallied in North Philadelphia today against the school district's demands for union concessions. The district has asked for $133 million a year in give-backs and changes to work rules.
About 60 teachers and their allies showed up at Julia De Burgos Elementary School, where they heard from Evette Jones, a teacher and union leader.
"Our school employees should not have to continue to pay for years of financial mismanagement and misspending. We have to tell them that we will not settle for anything less."
Passing drivers honked their horns at the assembled crowd.
Laid-off reading specialist Sue Barksdale said she's a casualty of the school district's efforts to close its looming budget gap.
"Twenty-three years I've been [teaching]. And I'm not stopping now," said Barksdale. "I want to keep going. As long as I can help, I'm going to be here."
The teachers said they plan to keep up the pressure on the school district with further rallies in August around the city.
Appearing at an event today in Philadelphia, Gov. Tom Corbett defended the state's role in the funding battle. "Forty-five million dollars in federal funding funneled through the state are contingent on reforms, including teacher concessions," Corbett said.
"We are working very closely with the local community, with the School Reform Commission. We've provided some resources, but we also need to see that there is movement from those same people that are rallying," said the governor.