Philadelphia, June 4 — Today, teachers, parents and community members marched up and down North 5th Street, a largely Latino/a neighborhood, to demonstrate their resolve to have a staff union at ASPIRA of Pennsylvania, a network of four charter schools. ASPIRA teachers accused the charter and its community organization of $3.3 million in financial irregularities, saying that ASPIRA spent tens of thousands of public dollars on anti-union lawyers. Teacher Emily Guck said, “We want to stay at ASPIRA schools and reduce staff turnover, and be permanent fixtures in the community and maintain relationships with student and parents over decades, not for one school year.”
State-controlled since 2001, the underfunded Philadelphia School District has become a two-tier system, with 60,000 students in 88 charter schools and 131,000 in 300 public schools. State law requires the district to fund an extra $3,000 to $4,000 per student if a school becomes a charter school, a major cause for turmoil and bankruptcy in the state’s largest school district.