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The Scranton Federation of Teachers, Local #1147 spoke out last week following a public work session by the Scranton School Board. The Pennsylvania Chronicle is publishing the statement in full here:
On January 28, 2019, the Scranton School Board held a public work session. At that meeting of the Scranton School Board, representatives of PFM (the District’s technical advisor) made presentations on several very important issues that will directly impact all students currently attending Scranton Public Schools.
(1) PFM recommended increasing class size.
(2) PFM recommended closing unnamed elementary schools.
(3) PFM recommended shifting students in grade 5 to the Intermediate level.
(4) PFM discussed radical changes to the structure of our District’s pre-school program, including who will be allowed to participate.
These recommendations were the product of meetings between PFM officials and members of the Scranton School District Central Administration. Other District stakeholders: teachers, parents, students, and taxpayers were not consulted. Appalling! It does not surprise us that some of these changes (numbers one and four above) were suggested by Alexis Kirijan in the past. They were bad ideas the first time the Board entertained them and they are bad ideas today.
Our response is simple:
(1) The District should work to reduce class size to help students succeed.
(2) The District closed schools in North Scranton (Jefferson Elementary and North Scranton Intermediate School) and East Scranton (Audubon Elementary and East Scranton Intermediate School). Children from North Scranton had to be bused when their schools closed. Decades later, they are now trying to take more schools away from elementary children. What schools do they want to close? West Scranton is it your turn? Is it South Scranton schools that will close? Don’t let what already happened in other sections of the city happen to your children! Parents, let your voices be heard before history repeats itself.
(3) Decades ago the District shifted grade 6 to the Intermediate level. Now they want to put fifth grade students in an Intermediate environment. These students are simply too young. Let our children be children and have a developmentally appropriate environment in which to learn.
(4) Leave our Pre-School program alone. Comply with Federal requirements without shortening the day, taking away services, or denying certain students the right to participate in the program.
The last time we contacted you, we warned of cuts to art, music, library, early intervention services, math, history, physical education, industrial arts, foreign languages, and family and consumer science. As you are now aware, those changes have been implemented and, as a consequence, your children suffer. Enough is enough! Our children matter.
Contact your friends and family and ask them to help.
• Attend and keep attending Scranton School Board meetings until this nonsense stops!
• Demand the services and programs paid for by your hard earned tax dollars!
Thank you for your time and anticipated involvement.
The Pennsylvania Chronicle did remove email addresses from local officials for privacy reasons from the statement above.