Sunday, December 15, 2019


President's Message

      "There’s a direct relationship between the ballot box and the bread box, and what the union fights for at the bargaining table can be taken away in the legislative halls.” - Walter Reuther (1907-1970), Union Leader

      We became teachers, counselors, social workers, therapists and nurses in public schools for a wide combination of reasons. We care about children and their future. We see ourselves making a difference in their lives. It was in our makeup.

      It was not because we were politically motivated or wanted to become activists. I know I looked forward to a career that allowed me to teach children about the love of music and how it enriched their lives. I loved being able to walk into my school and spend the day with colleagues who worked together to bring about change in the lives of our students.

      Unfortunately, others have pushed their way into our classrooms. Politicians that proclaim to be able to fix the “problems” of public education while touting the falsehoods of education reform and testing. All while pointing their fingers at us, the teachers, as part of the problem. At the same time, these politicians and legislators are taking away resources, literally starving our public schools.

      We saw firsthand what our present governor’s budgets did to the Harrisburg School District. We suffered because our local elected leaders on the school board irresponsibly did not even know their own budget. The governor and his cronies pushed through the Financial Recovery Act, which forced our hand and is harming our schools, our children and the community. We know that “what the union fights for at the bargaining table can be taken away in the legislative halls.”

      So what are we going to do about?

      I know what I am doing about it. While I cannot expect everyone to become as politically and actively involved as me, I do hope that you will take it upon yourself to join me over the next few weeks as we prepare for an election that will determine our future and the lives of our students.

      What can you do?

      Volunteer for one of our phone banks. Talk to neighbors, friends and family members about what this administration has done to our schools. But most important of all.....VOTE! On Tuesday, November 4, make sure you stop at the voting booth. You will receive information on PSEA-PACE recommended candidates. Vote your job. Vote your future. Vote for the future of our students.

In Solidarity,

Rich AskeyHEA President

Recent Media

1/14/15 - District's plans for $10 million budget surplus:

- ABC 27

11/16/14 - Spotlight on high rate of teacher turnover within the district:

- PennLive

11/14/14 - Formal complaint filed by the HEA against the district for a lack of required materials:

- ABC 27

- CBS 21

10/24/14 - Response to the district's claim of high teacher absenteeism:

- NBC 8

10/14/14 - On the Chief Recovery Officer's announcement of plans for the $10.6 million surplus:

- ABC 27

- FOX 43

9/26/2014 - On the district's announcement of poor test scores due to "massive" teacher turnover in the 2012-13 school year:

ABC 27

CBS 21

FOX 43

PennLive | PennLive

9/10/2014 - On the district's announcement of a $10 million surplus for 2014:

FOX 43

2014-15 Leadership


Jody Barksdale - President

Paul Kornfeld - Vice President

Eileen Rausch - Treasurer

Christine Robbins - Secretary

Lynn Byrem - Executive Committee

Michele Rolko - Executive Committee

Ben Wiker - Executive Committee