Philly teachers donate their stimulus checks to colleagues in need

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As federal stimulus checks start arriving, teachers in the Philadelphia area are being asked to turn theirs over for fellow school staffers in need who don't get paid as much. 

So far, more than 60 teachers have jumped in to do just that. 

Philadelphia teachers are still being paid while they work from home. So some of them, like Hunter Elementary fourth-grade teacher Adam Bailey, say they really don't need a stimulus check.

“We certainly are safe and well and still being paid,” he said. “And for a lot of people in this country, in this city, in our neighborhoods, that's not the case.”

Bailey is a member of the Caucus of Working Educators, a teachers union that’s asking educators to donate some or all of their stimulus checks to help paraprofessionals, like classroom aides, who don't make as much and often work two or three jobs.

“We wanted to think of a way to use this check that some of us feel we don't need, because for some of us, our situation hasn't changed,” Bailey continued. “How can we make a real impact for other people?”

The ParaPower Relief Fund, as it’s being called, benefits paraprofessionals who make between $15,000 and $30,000 a year. They will be given one-time grants of $500. Priority will be given to people facing evictions or utility shutoffs.

Leah Wood, a 12-year paraprofessional in the School District of Philadelphia, helped organize the fund.

“Even though we know that all of the shutoffs have stopped, the bill is still coming. So it's a little space to breathe,” she said. “It makes me feel good that there are people who might have it a little tight, but can give to help other people. It's freeing.”

The ParaPower Relief Fund is accepting donations online via PayPal.