July 5, 2023
PHILADELPHIA--"Our position has been clear from the start of budget negotiations: the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers remains unequivocally opposed to voucher expansion in any form. We have never wavered in this opposition because we know the truth about vouchers: they do not work and they siphon money from public education.
"As such, we are pleased that Governor Shapiro has promised a line-item veto of a deleterious voucher program that would undeniably harm public education. Further, we commend Democrats in both the House and Senate -- both Democratic leadership and Democratic rank and file members-- for holding the line throughout negotiations. Particularly in these last several days, House Democratic leadership has been instrumental in ensuring that a final budget package contains no voucher provisions.
"Over the course of this budget season, our members have written thousands upon thousands of letters and made thousands of phone calls to their elected officials, and their message has been clear: invest in public education. End the crisis of toxic schools, and ensure that every school building in every zip code is a safe, healthy, well-resourced place to learn. Provide students and staff the resources they need to thrive.
"In the wake of the landmark funding lawsuit in which Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer ruled with finality that the way our Commonwealth funds public education is inequitable, she ordered both the Legislative and Executive Branches to address the Commonwealth's constitutional obligation to enact a fair funding system. Our union has spoken extensively about the devastation caused by decades of disinvestment and has been explicit in our advocacy for the schools our students and staff need and deserve--and to which they are morally and constitutionally entitled.
"This budget is a starting point for a true investment agenda in public education. And now the real work begins, and the distraction of vouchers must end."