Harrisburg teachers plan a one-day strike Friday
John Harris High School is seen on April 24, 2019 (Sean Simmers/PennLive)
(Harrisburg) — Teachers in the Harrisburg School District are planning on holding a one-day strike Friday.
The vote comes amid criticism of the district administration for mismanagement and failing to address the needs of students.
“Harrisburg School District is in the midst of a crisis,” said Jody Barksdale, HEA president and middle-school math and science teacher. “Despite what Superintendent Sybil Knight-Burney told PennLive this month, these conditions are not typical nor unavoidable for a city school district. Her words do a terrible disservice to our students. Our kids deserve better than this.”
The state ranks the district among the bottom in academic performance across Pennsylvania.
It’s also under a state-mandated recovery plan for its finances, and the school board has struggled to reach a contract agreement with the district’s teachers’ union.
“This was not an easy decision for our members,” Barksdale added. “Our teachers were reluctant to disrupt our students’ schedule and activities Friday. However, we believe that the short-term disruption was outweighed by the need for long-term change and improvements to our kids’ education, well-being and future.”
The union has also filed an unfair labor practice as well over the district’s failure to bargain in good faith.
It notes more than 214 teachers have resigned in the past two school years, the administration hired at least 65 teachers on the wrong salary step and continued to pay benefits to 57 employees after leaving the district. T