Chester Upland Teachers Going Back to School Without Pay

Classes start in just two days and as we told you last week, unless there is a state budget passed, teachers in the Chester Upland School District will not get paid.

Like most teachers Marti Dicus can't wait to get back to school and see her third grade students at the Chester Upland School for the Arts. However, this year is much different.

"We're excited. Some of also get very anxious," Marti told FOX 29.

Anxious is an understatement. That's because Chester Upland--the state's poorest district --simply doesn't have the money to pay its teachers. So the union agreed they'll work without pay for the time being.

Simply put---until the state legislature passes a budget-- Chester Upland is broke. And right now, there's no telling from Harrisburg when a budget will go through. Teachers did get a thank you letter from the Secretary of Education. But when will their next paycheck will come; a week? A month? It's anyone's guess.

"I don't know how to feed my children," Marti explained.

In the meantime, Marti's own kids are losing out. No new shoes or school clothes this year and for the first time the family is applying for reduced cost lunches and even getting to that job that doesn't pay will be a challenge.

"My biggest fear right now is what if I don't have money to put gas in my car to actually get to work to teach my students," she told FOX 29.

With 20 years experience, she could get a job at another higher paying district; however, she wants to stay in Chester getting paid or not.

"Our kids deserve an education,' she said.

It's not only teachers. But the hundreds of support staff and bus drivers will also be working without pay.
The plan is for everyone to get back pay when the state budget is passed.