It took Central High School teacher George Bezanis less than a week to raise the money he needed to erect a billboard on Interstate 95 pointing out that the teachers' union does not have a signed contract and highlighting the role that city and school officials have played.
Bezanis holds the School Reform Commission, Schools 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 to take jobs elsewhere.
The billboard will appear on I- 95 southbound on the right, at a prime location between the Girard Avenue and Central Philadelphia exits beginning Feb. 27, according to a news release that Bezanis sent to the media.
Bezanis’ goal was to raise $5,000 toward the project. According to the GoFundMe page he started, more than $5,200 was raised by Friday. Bezanis said he will continue to keep the donation page online because he hopes to keep the billboard up until the teachers get a contract.
“This action is designed to coincide with Mayor Kenney’s unveiling of his annual budget proposal to City Council for upcoming fiscal 2017-18,” the release said. “For the second year in a row, the Mayor and City Council are planning on giving ZERO funding increases to the School District of Philadelphia. As a result, the District will continue to hold firm in its position that it is financially unable to settle a fair contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.”
– Staff report