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‘Fast for Safe Schools’ ends after release of Corbett’s funding plan

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Sonia Giebel

The "Fast for Safe Schools" is over. After going 15 days without food to support the rehiring of the 1,200 laid-off noontime aides, the fasters are ending their protest. They believe the new state budget will allow the District to rehire all student safety staff.

“Today we are celebrating an important, if incomplete, victory for our kids,” said faster Nicole Hunt in a statement. “The state budget does not do all that it should do for our schools, but we know that SDP can choose to prioritize student safety.”

Gov. Corbett released a funding package for Philadephia schools on Sunday that he said would grant the District $140 million, largely from city funds and short of the $180 million the District was seeking from the state and city. The governor’s plan includes just $127 million in additional revenue over his February budget proposal on which the District’s budget and funding requests were based.

The plan still needs to be voted on in the House, and the District has not committed to using the funds to rehire the aides.

“We fully expect SDP to bring student safety staff back into our schools,” said faster Roberta Thomas. “If they don’t, we’ll be right back on these steps.”

"Fast for Safe Schools" began two weeks ago in response to the layoffs of the entire student safety staff, aides who monitor hallways and lunchrooms in an effort to defuse conflicts before they arise. A rotation of District employees and parents have taken part in the fast.

UNITE HERE, the union representing the aides, reported that 10,000 serious incidents occurred in Philadelphia schools last year, even with student safety staff present.

The fast, which gained national attention, also garnered the support of various political leaders in the Philadelphia area.

Sonia Giebel is an intern at the Notebook.

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