Mayor Parker urges PA leaders to close $1.4B education funding gap as Roc Nation’s new campaign faces backlash

Mayor Cherelle Parker is calling on state leaders to pass a budget that would provide the School District of Philadelphia with $242 million dollars in new funding next year. Meanwhile, the PA and Philly branches of the Federation of Teachers are calling out Jay Z’s Roc Nation campaign aimed at providing private school scholarship money for low-income kids in Philly. 

The Philly mayor spoke proudly Tuesday after the House of Representatives in Harrisburg approved school funding legislation, a big boost by hundreds of millions of dollars to Philly schools.

"We speak with one voice to the general assembly to get the job done and to pass a budget that provides 242 million dollars in new funding this year and make the commitment to fully close the gap over the next seven years," said Mayor Parker in a press conference Tuesday. "Our funding gap is 1.4 billion dollars. Yes, that wasn’t a mistake. With a B."

If enacted as part of the state’s budget process, the School District of Philadelphia would get more than 240 million dollars in aid next year and $1.4 billion over the next seven years. 

This comes on the heels of this new effort by rapper JAY-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation, which is pushing for Senate Bill 757, a republican backed bill that if passed would offer 300 million dollars in private school scholarship money for kids in low income, and low performing areas. 


Jay-Z's Roc Nation wants to help Philadelphia students get $300 million in scholarships

Low-income households in Philadelphia are at the forefront of a new educational campaign being spearheaded by Jay-Z's entertainment company, Roc Nation.

Dania Diaz, the Managing Director of Philanthropy at Roc Nation, says their support for the bill does not undermine public education funding.

"This is not an anti-public education program, this is really about centering students and families and arming them with choices to find a better fit for them," said Diaz. "PASS is not pulling any dollars from the public education system. It’s a completely different line item, a newly appropriated line item specifically for PASS."

However, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers have fired back in the following statement:

"Any effort to move legislation that is rooted in right-wing efforts to destabilize and dismantle public education is troubling. We have repeatedly pointed out that vouchers are discriminatory, disproven, and do not serve the children they are purported to serve."

The Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers also sounded off with the following statement: 

"The Commonwealth Court was clear: Pennsylvania's legislature must address 'manifest deficiencies' in low-wealth communities by adequately and appropriately pouring public resources where they belong, in public schools."