PSEA Vice President Oleksiak comments on Chester Upland teachers’ decision to work without pay
HARRISBURG (Aug. 27, 2015) – Jerry Oleksiak, vice president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, issued the following statement today, after teachers and education support professionals in the Chester Upland Education Association agreed to work without pay so that the district’s financially strapped schools could open for students as scheduled next week.
“The situation in Chester Upland is absolutely unacceptable, but the teachers and support professionals there are so dedicated to their students that they decided to go to work without pay. They stood up and said that they won’t allow the school district’s financial crisis to get in the way of educating the community’s students.
“These people are the finest example of public education professionals. They are putting their students first and making personal sacrifices to ensure that Chester Upland’s kids can come to school. I couldn’t be more proud to be a teacher today and stand with these amazing people.
“This doesn’t change the fact that the financial situation in Chester Upland is unacceptable. The school district is broke. It can’t pay its employees, and this crisis is putting the education of Chester Upland’s kids at risk. The people we elect to pass budgets and state policies need to fix this problem, and they need to do it immediately.
“Chester Upland’s students, families, and educators deserve the same support and respect as every other school district in Pennsylvania. They’re not getting that support and respect, and it’s about time our elected officials gave it to them.”
Oleksiak is a special education teacher in the Upper Merion Area School District. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents approximately 180,000 future, active, and retired teachers and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.