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Sign of the times

A Philly teacher is raising money for a billboard to highlight the District's stalemate over a teachers' contract.

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

Central High School teacher George Bezanis is looking for a sign.

A large sign. A billboard, in fact.

And he would like that billboard to display a special message for members of the city’s School Reform Commission, the school superintendent, and Mayor Kenney.

Bezanis holds the SRC, Superintendent William Hite, and the mayor responsible for the fact that District teachers have been working without a contract since 2012, resulting in lost wages and teachers leaving for jobs elsewhere.

So he started an online fundraising campaign on Saturday to raise money to cover the initial cost of printing and placing a billboard on Interstate 95 in Center City that would call out the SRC, the mayor, and superintendent for failing to secure a contract and would proclaim Philadelphia as a city that does not value its public school students.

Bezanis’ goal is to raise $5,000 toward the project. According to the GoFundMe page, more than $2,000 was raised in two days. Bezanis hopes to keep the ad up on the billboard for four weeks.

The SRC and Hite have direct roles in running the District, and Bezanis wrote in a news release that he included Kenney because he has taxing authority.

“Mayor Kenney touts himself as an ‘education’ mayor, but will now present a budget in March that does absolutely nothing to improve the learning conditions of students and the working conditions of the dedicated educators who hold our public schools together,” the release said.

– Staff report

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