April 17, 2017
A Philadelphia teacher angered by the state of contract negotiations wants to fly a banner over the NFL draft.
The message won't be nearly as positive as the large, blue banners heralding the event from the sides of City Hall.
George Bezanis, a social studies teacher at Central High School, has launched an online fundraiser to send an aerial message to city and school district officials during the marquee event.
"If the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers still doesn't have a contract by April 27th, we need to remind our city's elected officials and the leaders of the district what they should really be passionate about — our schools," Bezanis wrote on the fundraiser page.
The district's teachers have been working without a contract for more than three years. They have not received a pay increase in four years.
Union leadership rejected a $100 million offer late last year because it did not include retroactive pay increases.
Bezanis seeks to raise $2,000, which he estimates will be enough to fly a banner around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for several hours. As of Monday afternoon, his campaign had raised $450.
Donors can vote to select the specific message on the banner. There are 11 different options, most of which are football-related. A few samplings:
• "LET'S DRAFT A CONTRACT FOR PHILLY TEACHERS"
• "ROUGHING THE TEACHER: 1334 DAYS NO CONTRACT"
• "PHILLY TEACHERS SHOULD ALWAYS BE #1 PICK"
Bezanis crowdfunded $5,000 to post a billboard message along I-95 earlier this year reading "Welcome to Philadelphia, where we don't value our public school children."
Photographs of School Reform Commissioner Bill Green, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. and Mayor Jim Kenney were featured on the billboard.