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Scranton teachers picket in Harrisburg

While their war with the school board continues, they waged another with state lawmakers.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Striking teachers from Scranton took school busses to the State Capitol Wednesday morning. 

While their war with the school board continues, they waged another with state lawmakers.

Scranton teachers moved their picket line south to the steps of the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

They used the same chants, but this is a different battle.

"We're here today to remind the people in this building that education matters and money needs to be used to fund education in the state of Pennsylvania. We're at the bottom of the heap in our state. It's ridiculous that we cannot get this done," said Rosemary Boland, Scranton Federation of Teachers President.

While the teachers' union is at odds with the Scranton School Board and on strike, both sides agree that Scranton schools have been traditionally underfunded. 

"Harrisburg has $3 billion in surplus. We need some of it in Scranton. This strike is about getting fair funding, not just about the teachers, but it's really about the students," said Holly Meade, a 7th-grade teacher at Northeast Intermediate School.

State lawmakers from Lackawanna County and across the state spoke at the rally. The teachers hoped they listened, too.

"Getting our legislators here and having them talk to us and tell us what's going on and how the fair funding fight is important. The court case on Friday is absolutely critical to everything that we need to do," said Jerry Skotleski, Scranton High School history teacher.

The Scranton teachers went to Harrisburg now because of something that's happening there on Friday. 

A lawsuit that is looking to change the way the state funds school districts throughout Pennsylvania is set to go to trial. 

That case could make a big difference in Scranton.

In a statement, the Scranton School District said the state's proposed new Fair Funding Formula would give Scranton $4,000 more per student each year. 

That would total about $39 million a year. Last year, the District received $5.2 million. 

While that battle is fought in Harrisburg, the teachers' union plans to meet at the negotiating table with the Scranton School District on Friday.

"It's time to stop playing games, come up with some real numbers, meet in the middle, figure it out because the kids are suffering in the meantime," said Laura Lantka, a teacher at Robert Morris Elementary School.

 

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