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PCAPS announces new campaign to fight for school funding

By thenotebook on Sep 12, 2013 03:55 PM
Photo: Isaac Riddle

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, speaking at the announcement of the Full Funding Fridays campaign, organized by the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools.

by Isaac Riddle

The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools organized a press conference Thursday at City Hall to announce a new campaign that would call on City Council and other elected officials to fully fund District schools.

The campaign, called Full Funding Fridays, encourages parents, students and teachers to wear the “fund our schools” sticker or button every Friday in solidarity with the battle for school funding. Rallies will be held every Friday at different schools and other “symbolic” locations to call for more dollars for the city’s schools.

“We parents and community members are telling our elected officials that our children deserve more,” said Kia Hinton, the education committee co-chair at ACTION United.

In support of the campaign, Hinton also encouraged community members to change their profile pictures on Facebook and Twitter to the “fund our schools” logo.

“Our students deserve more. They deserve to not be subjected to overcrowded classrooms,” said Hinton. “They deserve to have enough desks so students aren’t sitting on the floor.”

And they deserve to have enough guidance counselors, participants said. Many schools now have fewer counselors due to budget cuts and some have no counselors.

Dennis Dorfman knows what is required of school counselors. Dorfman worked as a school counselor at AMY middle school in Northeast Philadelphia for 34 years. Now retired, Dorfman volunteers at AMY because the school lacks a full-time school counselor.

“It is a dangerous situation if counselors are not there. They are a stabilizing person who can be there for [students],” said Dorfman at the press conference.

The District continues to work to secure additional funding after massive layoffs and cuts to critical services and programs.

The Full Funding Fridays campaign officially launches Friday, Sept. 13, at Moffet Elementary School. Members from PCAPS and the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign will gather in front of the South Kensington elementary school.

“Until our elected leaders work on a funding formula that is based on enrollment population or other measures, we will continue to find ourselves in the same situation,” Hinton said.

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, who has been very vocal about the crisis in Philadelphia, joined the rally. 

“We have to force those who have been elected to actually do what they need to do to create a future for the United States of America,” Weingarten said.

Trailed by TV cameras, Weingarten later traveled to Lincoln High School and planned to tour the school and visit classrooms from 2 p.m. until school let out at 2:55.

But principal Donald Anticoli met her in the lobby and said that touring the school would be disruptive and that she could come inside to talk to teachers after school let out.

Instead, Weingarten spoke to parents, students, and teachers outside, said an AFT spokesman, Marcus Mrowka, who was on the scene.

Mrowka said it was the first time that Weingarten had been denied access to a school while it was in session. She has been president of AFT since 2008 and was president of the United Federation of Teachers, its New York City affiliate, for 12 years before that.

Anticoli said in an interview later that he was only told the day before, through the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers building representative, that Weingarten wanted to visit. "We determined that the timing was bad, at the end of the school day," he said. 

Weingarten has been a steady presence in Philadelphia as the PFT continues to negotiate with the District, which is seeking pay cuts and other concessions.

Isaac Riddle is an intern at the Notebook. Contributing Editor Dale Mezzacappa contributed reporting.

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Comments (66)

Submitted by JMH (not verified) on September 12, 2013 7:03 pm
Anticoli made the right call. He's in a tough position and he has to be mindful of the higher ups as well as, and most importantly the students. When you disrupt the school day...at any time...that lasts forever, spawns incidents and is very difficult to manage.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 7:07 pm
When you volunteer to do someone else's job, you are making it easier for the district not to call back the person whose job it is.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 7:23 pm
I'm confused as to exactly what type of disruption Weingarten would create by touring the school. The school and administered should be equipped to handle any type of "disruption". It makes me wonder exactly what the Principal is hiding. Isn't this after all the same district that allowed cameras in on a routine basis to tape a reality tv show with Tony Danza. I highly doubt that Ms. Weingarten's tour of the school would have impeded learning in any way. I just really would like to know what didnt the Principal of Northeast want the cameras & Weingarten to see. If his intention was to appease the "higher ups" instead of allowing the deficiencies at his school to be viewed publicly and exposed his motivation is flawed. Perhaps if Weingarten toured and then discussed what she viewed highschool students would not be sitting 50 in a class. The Principal was protecting his career and not the children of Lincoln.
Submitted by JMH (not verified) on September 12, 2013 8:34 pm
So clearly you do not work in a persistently dangerous high school. She was coming in and she was coming with media. Much less is necessary to disrupt a school and he is already thinly covered. I have no doubt it was a downtown call to not let them in, but if you know high schools and understand how fragile things are right now, then you know why he did what he did. It was a good call....she will get her story no matter what...everybody will...there is no need to exploit kids. FYI...I am a high school assistant principal and I am currently laid-off....I need my job back and I am supporting everything the union and Randi are doing, but I also know and understand high school kids...we still need to protect them as best we can from some of the crazy stuff going on...we also need to protect the teachers and staff who are trying to manage the day-to-day events as best they can....
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 13, 2013 10:14 am
High School students handle reporters and union representatives in schools very well and it has never been disruptive in my lifetime in schools under any circumstances. Keeping Randi out is an act of governmental repression no matter how it is twisted. I ran Furness during its most turbulent times. Paul Vallas thought nothing of bringing press into our Courtroom at Furness to promote himself, while the students were fighting in the neighborhoods every night, which of course, I handled without any help from Vallas. Our students were always orderly and respectful whenever visitors came into our building. As to your statement "there is no need to exploit kids" is a little bit ironic. It is Corbet, Zogby, Nutter et al who are "exploiting children" in their political agenda to bust unions and privatize public schools. They are being "held hostage" and exploited by our politicians and it is a disgrace in America. Randi Weingarten is the "elected representative" of the teachers of Philadelphia and has every right to visit every public school in Philadelphia. You should be more concerned that a PFT person is probably doing your job and CASA is basically powerless to do anything about the illegality of the situation. Teachers have always 'held our schools together" no matter what adverse circumstances were foisted upon them. They of course, as always, will heroically hold the schools together no matter what.
Submitted by JMH (not verified) on September 13, 2013 6:05 pm
You amaze me sometimes...I know you are a intelligent man with a good heart, but the truth is that you have your perspective from your experience, and I have mine from my experience.( I am an intelligent person with a good heart too!) I have no doubt there were rough times at Furness that were handled really well. I'm sure there were other events that were handled not so well. Visitors and visits from many people are handled well when there is time to prep the kids and set the stage. You are right most of our kids are amazing, but clearly Anticoli felt for whatever reason, be it a call from downtown or his own call, that he didn't need a visitor at that moment. And it is not ironic in anyway that there is no reason to exploit kids...because the politicos and others choose to do this does not make it right. For teachers and principals to do it because others are doing it, doesn't make it right. It amounts to two wrongs. And...thank you so much for telling me what I should be concerned about! I think I got that one covered. Is CASA as powerless as the PFT? Riddle me this my friend...when with this all be settled?
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 13, 2013 10:17 pm
CASA has always been virtually powerless. That is why CASA voted to join the Teamsters. It was figured that the Teamsters would give them power. In reality, the Teamsters did very little to help CASA. CASA does not have enough money to battle the district on equal footing in court either. Their only hope is through arbitration which has not done well for CASA in the past. Presently the rights of CASA members are being trampled on as you well know. I didn't mean to insult you, I apologize. I am sure Mr. Anticoli felt he didn't need Randi at this moment in time. We all take our signals from our line superiors. That is life in "the bureaucracy." Sometimes we find ourselves in the position of having to do things we do not necessarily agree with. Any success I had at Furness was simply because of so many really Great teachers and support staff who did whatever it took to deal with school life as Vallas dealt us. The faculty at Mastbaum was just as Great, too. Teachers know how to run schools. They always have. Our job is to facilitate their community and teamwork. We lead "professional communities." There is no place for adversarialism in schools. As to the exploitation of children by politicians to achieve their political agendas, I do not see the teachers or CASA as the ones who started this fight. I see them doing everything they can to support children and their community. The PFT are not the ones sitting on enough money to end this debacle. It is Corbett and Zogby. This ridiculousness could end tomorrow morning if it were not for the politicians who put power politics above the welfare of children and our community. I call them as I see them and I put my name behind everything I say.
Submitted by Lisa Haver (not verified) on September 13, 2013 10:04 pm
I have attended several press conferences and "rallies" held at elementary schools and attended by Ramos, Hite, the Mayor and other politicians. The most recent was at Jackson Elementary. The school district has no problem using children as props at these events. I have seen them sit for over an hour waiting for the show to begin, then an hour more while politicians make speeches without addressing a word to them. That is exploitation of students. Not having a union leader visit a high school.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on September 12, 2013 9:12 pm
The far bigger issue is that CASA and The PFT should be together and not allow them to divide and conquer. Maybe we are as dumb as they think we are.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on September 13, 2013 8:11 pm
Joe, You are exactly right. My former principal said that CASA is only as strong as the PFT because if the District goes after PFT, then the next group they'll go after is CASA. EGS
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on September 13, 2013 8:09 pm
That's why I love you so much--you usually agree with me. That Principal understands the real deal. Divide and conquer is a strategy that usually works, turning folks against one another, the us and them syndrome. Nazi Germany gave cash bonuses for citizens who turned in other citizens.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 7:34 pm
why does our school have a counselor, SBTL, dean of students, schoolpolice officer and incompetent principal. something fishy is going on
Submitted by JMH (not verified) on September 12, 2013 8:45 pm
You wanna name that school?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 9:10 pm
HAHA, Most of the new ones are inexperienced and they are scared to death with no support. Horrible.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 8:27 pm
Schools have visitors from outside all the time, mainly from 440. Teachers and students face any number of disruptions everyday. I know Anticoli, and he's a good man, extremely hard-working, but refusing Weingarten entrance was downtown's call, no doubt about it. Our schools were operating on bare bones budgets before all these cuts, and now they are blatantly unsafe.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 9:31 pm
Lincoln High was reported in news yesterday as only one of two left on persistently dangerous list...what a pile on. Anticoli needs support not criticism. He is an A#! administrator. I hope we don't drive him out.
Submitted by Annonm (not verified) on September 12, 2013 9:49 pm
She should have gone to Central or Masterman. Make the powers that be shake a bit. Those principals are power people - they can take the heat from 440 because they have alumni associations to back them.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 10:41 pm
Masteman and Central have so much support...on every front, ALWAYS...they would not have been good snapshots of general upheaval either I think. Maybe a school like Juniata Park Academy, not directly involved in upheaval of closed schools, still a fairly new facility in a typical working poor community, but chronically overburdened by over crowding and suddenly dealing with drastically decreased student supervision/ counseling services and decimated supply budget.
Submitted by tom-104 on September 12, 2013 11:00 pm
You are living in the past. Central has no librarian. Some classes have 40 students. Everyone is being hit.
Submitted by Annonm (not verified) on September 13, 2013 4:00 am
Smaller magnets have been hit particularly hard. They do not have the alumni association or political clout of Central and Masterman. They have lost even basics like world languages, AP courses, etc. Teachers are being asked to teach many courses. I know this as a parent. My children are not receiving a "college preparatory" education when teachers are over taxed, they can not get required courses and extra curricular options are slashed. No one on the SRC, Hite/Khin/Phila. School Partnership/PA Legislature would send their child to these schools. Nevertheless, they have decided these schools are "good enough" for other people's children. If Nutter wants to decimate Philadelphia and empty it of its tax payers, his lack of leadership in ensuring school funding will be the catalyst.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2013 12:09 pm
And let's be real about why they wouldn't send their children to these schools. It's not because the teachers suck. It's because the behaviors are off the charts! As a result, many good students' educations are indeed jeopardized. Put any of these teachers in a suburban environment with parent and student accountability, and all of a sudden you have a stellar educational opportunity. Same teachers. But it's not politically correct to discuss the truth of the matter - these kids are completely out of hand, and there is exactly zero that can be done about it. Which they know. Especially when 70% of their home phone numbers are disconnected. This district will never change so long as it keeps stripping the power from the schools. The focus has shifted from the many to the few, at the expense of the many. That's the reality. That's what politicians and taxpayers don't care to understand.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 8:06 pm
How do we get the politicians to provide more money if the schools are operating? We need a strike. The entire city of unionized workers must shut the city down. That will stop this divide and conquer mentality.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on September 12, 2013 9:22 pm
YES, all this back and forth crap is..............crap. The government has a responsibility to educate ALL the kids not just some of them. It's way beyond time for ALL UNIONS to stand together or they'll pick us off one a time..............and they're doing just that.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 8:57 pm
If this is the same Anticoli that was at Penn Treaty then I'm sure that he got a call from 440 not to let them in. It does cast him in a bad light for those who don't know him. He's an upstanding type of guy. He actually is a former Professor of mine. He's deeply invested in providing the best education and resources for all students. He definitely got a call. But in all honesty if the school can't maintain order during the first week of school they will never have order. As for it being persistently dangerous ok I get that but that's still a cop out. Weingarten should've been let in but Anticoli reports to Hite.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 12, 2013 10:43 pm
Same Anticoli from Penn Treaty and he is awesome! I wish he was my principal. I am sure Don was pressured by 440. Don't blame him.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 13, 2013 6:44 am
The directive came from 440 not to let RW into the school. It's okay for Hite and Nutter to visit schools, of course.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on September 13, 2013 11:47 am
Yes, it is. Hite is the superintendent and Nutter is the mayor. Weingarten is not an employee of this city or the district. She would also not be allowed to just walk into the Pentagon, but the President of the U.S. can. Got it?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2013 9:34 am
A parent was also denied access. But Sylvia Simms was also touring schools last week. Is she considered an "employee of the school district" as an SRC member? If the rationale is that it is disruptive to have visitors in schools on the first week, then that should apply to everyone... including various council people who wanted to see what was going on in schools - and were given access, btw.
Submitted by Annonm (not verified) on September 14, 2013 12:27 pm
Sylvia Simms is allegedly employed by Comcast - at least they give her a paycheck. (What work she does for Comcast is another issue... I assume she is being paid by Comcast to sit on the SRC. - a deal between Nutter and David Cohen.) If Simms came into my class, she would be a disruption just as much as anyone else. I would ask her, however, how she is good conscious could vote to keep her neighborhood school open while closing the neighborhood schools of tens of thousands of other Philadelphians. Hypocrite doesn't being to describe her behavior.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on September 13, 2013 11:37 am
PCAPS is nothing more than a special interest advocacy group for the PFT. It should not be taken seriously.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 13, 2013 11:58 am
Taxman: PCAPS is an organization of people who have dedicated their lives to the service of Philadelphia's school children and their communities. I know many of them personally and I have the highest respect for them. I am honored to have had the opportunity to have met their acquaintances over the years. They are The BEST!
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on September 13, 2013 12:36 pm
Of course you like them. They advocate for your narrow special interests.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 13, 2013 2:23 pm
And what may they be?
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on September 13, 2013 3:53 pm
It's no secret. More money for the union members. No competition. No accountability. Seniority to protect incompetent union members. No contribution to benefits expenses. The list goes on and on. From New Jersey to Wisconsin, the taxpayers have had enough of the public sector unions. You can protest all you want, but the outcome will be the same. The trough is empty. The gravy train is over.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 13, 2013 4:15 pm
Taxman: I am not a PFT member and I am not a CASA member. I am an advocate for children, their rights, and the "best practices" of school governance and leadership. I am a concerned citizen and taxpayer who believes that the "imperative of democracy" mandates that all "public schools" be governed and led according to the principles of democracy as set forth in the U.S. Constitution & the Pennsylvania Constitution. I believe that democracy is the "sine qua non" for Greatness in public schools. You do not agree?
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 13, 2013 5:19 pm
Ps: I also love students, love teachers, love most principals, and love the profession of teaching and learning. I do not appreciate the assault on teachers and public education, because it is really an assault on students, their families and their communities. But thank you for the teachable moment.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on September 13, 2013 5:54 pm
So you are a retired member of the PFT, then?
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 13, 2013 5:50 pm
Yes, I was a proud member of PFT for 20 years. I was a proud member of CASA for 14 years. I am now a proud advocate for democracy in education and the rights of citizens to meaningfully participate in the governance of our "public schools."
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on September 13, 2013 6:33 pm
So there you go. See my first post. This conversation wasn't necessary.
Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on September 13, 2013 5:27 pm
If you are so sure that our fate is sealed, why are you trolling on this site day in and day out? You, a slimy, contemptible character, who does not care about this city and it's children, and most of the time does not know what he is talking about, because never set a foot in a public school, never met a real teacher, school nurse, or principal. Don't bother to answer. It's a rhetorical question No one here cares what you think.
Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on September 13, 2013 7:31 pm
Stop feeding the ravenous trolls!
Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on September 14, 2013 1:42 pm
Sorry. Just lost my patience. No more.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2013 12:22 pm
Troll= Anyone who disagrees with the PFT agenda.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 13, 2013 5:25 pm
ITS ALL A HUGE SMOKESCREEN,THIS IS HILARIOUS......OMG
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 13, 2013 5:32 pm
How do we get the buttons? I am a teacher and want to get some. Small magnets haven't had librarians for years. If you aren't those top 2, you were cut drastically 2 years ago. The fight for next year's budget needs to begin.
Submitted by Jkallen (not verified) on September 13, 2013 7:29 pm
I think I am pretty sure I know who "taxpayer" is. He "writes" suspiciously similar to someone I know well.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 13, 2013 8:11 pm
testing
Submitted by Sirknow (not verified) on September 13, 2013 8:01 pm
What is the right answer for a good education? The key for the American dream is supposed to be through education ,but the Pennsylvania elected officials keep cutting the funds while raising the bar to graduate from high school. This will only be the third time that the elected officials have decided to change the graduation requirements without taking the test themeselves.
Submitted by Sirknow (not verified) on September 13, 2013 8:10 pm
lll
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2013 6:13 pm
If the PFT is calling on Al Sharpton for help we are in big trouble! http://tinyurl.com/kgkmvud http://tinyurl.com/ko2yuya http://tinyurl.com/ktdba5w
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2013 6:52 pm
http://tinyurl.com/mhw7kwm
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2013 10:02 pm
This picture is very disturbing. I hope PFT members are alert to what this may mean and are prepared to respond.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2013 11:02 pm
What does it mean and how do you think we should respond?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2013 11:48 pm
It means the PFT leadership is ready to collaborate with a big sellout. Look at Sharpton's history. He has been promoting charters for many years (and making big bucks doing it).
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2013 9:47 am
He spoke out emphatically on Saturday about charters being experimentation and that the peeve lance of charters should not replace or displace quality education. He also stated that Corbett has systematically gutted and attempted to dismantle the public education system in Philadelphia. Surprisingly I agreed with everything that he stated. I think that alot of people like myself had a less then positive opinion of Mr. Sharpton but he came across as extremely informed and well spoken. He also stated that we can't blame the teachers for Corbett taking away resources and supplies the basic frameworks they need to teach. Mr. Sharpton emphatically defended unions and workers rights as well. I'm going to tune into his MSNBC show. I really think that he was genuine. Btw Diane Ravitch will be at the Free Library on Tuesday. She has a new book about the privatization of the public school system. You'll need a ticket.
Submitted by no time for naivete (not verified) on September 15, 2013 10:54 am
Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. Sharpton is too much of a mixed bag to get comfortable being aligned with him. Privatization of public schools is WAY BEYOND the experimentation stage-charters are displacing public education. Sharpton saying "charters should not be replacing public schools" suggests a disingenuous level of complicity any public school proponent should not accept. Wake up people! The test of our mettle is about to get much harder. Don't forget, the next round of school closings is being planned as we speak.
Submitted by Jay (not verified) on September 15, 2013 10:51 am
I agree with you. Rhetoric is what leads people to disaster.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2013 10:56 am
"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Al Sharpton's stay out of jail card | NYC Public School Parents - March 31, 2009 http://tinyurl.com/kgkmvud Sharpton, Gingrich and Duncan Begin Education Tour to Expose Challenges and Highlight Reforms in Philadelphia | National Action Network - Approximately September 29, 2009
 http://tinyurl.com/ktdba5w Gingrich, Sharpton praise charter's innovation | ExplorerNews - October 6, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/ko2yuya
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2013 10:36 am
Have people forgotten that Sharpton came to town with Newt Gingrich and Arnie Duncan to promote charters just a few years back? Do you really think he's changed his tune for real? Two words for those who think he's here to help us: Twana Brawley.
Submitted by Tawana (not verified) on September 15, 2013 11:16 am
Yup. He's the opportunist always looking to be the hero. And then it blows up in his and the surrounding peoples faces. How embarrassing that Jerry Jordan et. al. have resorted to cavorting with that buffoon.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2013 8:39 pm
Agreed. We can do without Al Sharpton! This is one PFT member who will NOT associate with him or his group. How quickly people forget.
Submitted by Anna Minous (not verified) on September 14, 2013 11:56 pm
Al Sharpton is and has always been an embarrassment to himself and anyone associated with him. What the hell is Jerry Jordan thinking? We are fucked.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2013 2:18 am
AL Sharpton??? Why in the world would the PFT want to align ourselves with him?
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on September 15, 2013 6:55 am
Al Sharpton is a mixed bag. While he has been an advocate for charters, he has also fought for worker rights and for the disenfranchised for a very long time. Sharpton does have a rather unattractive way of making money, replete with playing the race card 24/7 but in our case, that card is 100% appropriate. By the way, I doubt very much that Al would be heading this way without the approval of Randi Weingarten.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2013 9:10 am
I don't like having to wade through so much crap to see the good. While it may be true that we humans are all "mixed bags" when you get right down to it, Sharpton is not our friend. If he is the best we can do in terms of "influence" we are indeed screwed. And, I agree, Randi has likely given her blessing, but hey, Randi is not our friend either.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on September 15, 2013 12:23 pm
I tend to agree with you overall. I know Al is an apologist for Obama and that alone makes me sick. I also know that he has always figured out ways to make money through poor race relations and that ain't good either. Somewhere I read that he and Randi had become chummy so who knows. What I DO KNOW is that force will be needed and appropriate in dealing with whatever is coming down the pike or is it pipe? Feel free to define force any way you feel appropriate.

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