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Parents United
for Public Education - Philadelphia  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 (Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer)

a parent voice for Philadelphia public schools 

calling for academic achievement, accountability

and putting kids first in school budgets 


Our campaigns 

Parents United in the news

Contact us

Links and resources 

Check out Helen Gym's weekly blog at the Philadelphia Public School Notebook
YES! We twitter: @ParentsUnitedPA

News and information

Check out our Spring 2012 Budget page!
The District's recently announced restructuring plan is an all-out assault on public education and endangers the fiscal health of our schools through deficit financing and an overreliance on charters. 64 school closures. 40 schools in one year alone. Charter school enrollment to grow from 22% to 40% of total population. All schools divided into "networks" run by RFP-recruited operators. Haven't we already reaped the failures of this approach?
In a time of shrinking resources and fiscal distress, the District has abandoned its core mission to our children and classrooms and instead recklessly sought to remake itself after some blueprint of "education reform." Instead of cleaning house, stripping away contracts and pet programs, and focusing on its core mission, the proposed achievement networks will provide yet another scattershot approach toward reform with little accountability and equity from a bare bones central office.
Moreover, the District excluded the voices of parents and community members who have repeatedly called for more attention and resources devoted back to schools - manageable class sizes, nurses, librarians, art and music for every child, fresh food, science labs, and an enriched curriculum.
Parents United for Public Education has issued a VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE in the current District restructuring plan. Our platform:
  1. A parent voice must be a fundamental part of any District plan. This plan reflects none of the priorities parents have repeatedly requested of the District.
  2. The District must focus on its core mission- directing dollars to our children's classroom and schools. We can't afford distractions like the constant reshuffling of the management structure that takes away stability, attention, priorities and resources from classrooms.
  3. We need to strip extraneous contracts from the District budget. The District for example has more than $200 million in no-bid professional services contracts.We still pay $4.7 million to the City for BRT workers who are not even on our payroll.
  4. We reject the plan to close 40 schools in one year. This will lead to complete chaos and instability for almost every neighborhood in the city at a time when we need to stabilize schools. 64 schools over five years is equally unacceptable.
  5. Calling for 40% of students in charters is arbitrary and without merit. This will cost the District as much as $280 million at a time when it is cutting functioning schools to the bone.
  6. Equity is a fundamental responsibility of a school district. In a system where 1 in 5 students has special needs, equity not choice needs to dominate the conversation.
Read more here:

VICTORY! Parents United's "Give Kids a Free Ride" Campaign results in transportation preserved,

$53 million in city funds devoted to essential programs in schools, and oversight in School District

Let's face it. A few months ago, the conversation around our schools was in shambles with a District advocacy machine Protect Philly Ed largely using the tactics of fear and brinksmanship to urge parents to random actions against the state. Then YOU got involved, and we helped set priorities for our schools: full-day kindergarten, free transportation for children, restoring cuts to schools. We lobbied the city for more funds. But we also demanded transparency, new priorities at the District, oversight and new leadership.


As a result, we not only saw more funds go to schools, we saw renewed energy around establishing parent priorities, challenging the District's spending practices, and serious oversight. In June, the Mayor and State signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would require the District to share information publicly about many issues requested by parents. The MOU also requires the District to follow a five year financial plan, another achievement championed by Parents United.


The victory of course is bittersweet. We are facing the loss of thousands of staff next year, dozens of schools are slated for closing or consolidation, and we desperately need new leadership at the top - with no golden parachutes or buyouts. We need an active and independent parent voice like yours now more than ever.


Join Parents United and let's build a strong voice for our schools!
on an ad campaign to prioritize our teachers, our children and our classrooms!

On June 23, Parents United and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers launched a media campaign to raise attention to the loss of teachers in our classrooms and our schools. Our print ads launched in the Philadelphia Daily News, Metro, City Paper, and Philadelphia Weekly. Our radio ads are currently running as well. Help us make a better school by calling the SRC at 215-400-4010 and tell them to redo the budget, restore cuts to schools and no buyouts for high paid executives!


URGENT! Philadelphia Public School Notebook publishes confidential document listing dozens of school closings/consolidations. Among the schools listed are:
  • Blankenburg   Drew   Dunbar    Fitler    Gideon    Harrison     L.P. Hill       Levering     Nebinger     Overbrook Elementary     T.M. Peirce     Pepper

  • Shaw     Sheppard     Sheridan West     E.M. Stanton      Waring      A. Wilson      S.A. Douglas     FitzSimons     Benjamin Franklin

  • Furness (with students sent to South Philadelphia)     Philadelphia Military Academy at Leeds (or the Academy at Elverson)

  • Randolph Skills Center (with students sent to Dobbins)     Rhodes              Robeson (with students sent to Sayre)

Parents United meets with SEPTA General Mgr., talks with schools CFO.

Now, a deal is likely on free transpasses. Way to go team!


Read about our City Hall lobby day and petition in Tuesday's Inquirer




In two weeks, the School District intends to pass a budget that eliminates full-day kindergarten, all yellow buses and free transpasses, and cuts 29% of each school’s local funds, resulting in the loss of 3800 personnel. Meanwhile, the SRC continues to spend millions on contracts. Parents are working hard to change the governor’s budget. We need a responsible SRC that acts to protect the public interest.

We must take action now! It’s not business as usual.
Parents United for Public Education is an all volunteer, independent collective of parents which believes in quality schools and responsible funding. State, city and district leaders must:
  1. Ensure full-day kindergarten.
  2. Restore free transportation for all school-age students. 
  3. Restore the 29% cut in each school’s discretionary funds.
  4. Impose a moratorium on all non-essential contracts, hiring of personnel, and start-up/expansion of new programs and initiatives.
  5. Restore the District's share of property tax revenue from 55% to 60%.


The District budget threatens to eliminate yellow school buses and free transpasses for all public, private and parochial school students . More than 600 people have signed our petition to Council to boost funding to schools by supporting free transportation for all school-age students.  Tell Council: It's our kids who deserve the free ride!
Please organize en masse for the May 31st School Reform Commission hearing where the FY2012 budget will be passed.
  • Wed., May 25th, 1:30-3 p.m., City Council budget hearings on the School District: Call 215-686-3407. Can’t make it in the middle of a workday afternoon? Call and demand an evening session!
  • Thurs., May 26th, 3 p.m., SEPTA board meeting: 1234 Market Street, email us for more information! We're planning to tell SEPTA that it's our kids who deserve the free ride!
  • Tues., May 31st, 5 p.m. School Reform Commission meeting to pass the FY2012 budget: Call 215-400-4500 by 4:30 p.m. Monday
Ten phone calls a day qualifies as a major issue for any council office. The message: 1) Ensure free transportation for all public school students; 2) Increase funds to the schools; and 3) Help lobby the District to restore the 29% cut to each individual school’s funds.
Parents United City Hall lobbying day: Monday, May 23, 12-2 p.m.: Meet us on the third floor of City Hall at the northeast side of the elevators. Call Helen at 215-808-1400 with any questions.
Frank DiCicco: 215-686-3458
Anna Verna: 215-686-3412
Jannie Blackwell: 215-686-3418
Curtis Jones: 215-686-3416
Darrell Clarke: 215-686-3442
Joan Krajewski: 215-686-3444
Maria Quinones-Sanchez: 215-686-3448
Donna Reed Miller: 215-686-3424
Marian Tasco: 215-686-3454
Brian O’Neill: 215-686-3422
Wilson Goode, Jr.: 215-686-3414
James Kenney: 215-686-3450
Frank Rizzo: 215-686-3440
William Greenlee: 215-686-3446
Blondell Reynolds Brown: 215-686-3438
The School Reform Commission is an appointed body which should provide fiscal and managerial oversight of the District.
Send emails to SRC Commissioners Robert Archie, Chair; Johnny Irizarry; Denise Armbrister, and Joseph Dworetzky: eodavis@philasd.org, johnnyi@exchange.upenn.edu, druggiano@phila.k12.pa.us, ffrederick@phila.k12.pa.us, nmills@philasd.org
The Mayor’s Office of Education is the liaison between City Hall and the School District.
Lori Shorr, Chief Education Officer: 215-686-0333, lori.shorr@phila.gov