Dear Chairwoman Neff:
The members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools call on you and the members of the SRC to table your plans to renew the contract of Superintendent William Hite. There is no need to take this action at this time. Superintendents’ terms last five years; the time to assess the performance of the superintendent is at the end of those five years. The SRC should not be locking the district and its stakeholders into a seven-year contract.
The timing and speed of the proposed contract extension appears to be another attempt by the SRC to prevent the people of the city an opportunity to be heard on the policies and the direction of its public schools.
The people of Philadelphia have clearly expressed their views on education at the ballot box in the recent mayoral and gubernatorial elections. The voters rejected the mayoral candidate whose platform called for more privatization, more charters and more school closures. They voted out a governor whose education policies inflicted harm on our public schools. It is wrong, therefore, to have the SRC members appointed by the former governor and the outgoing mayor act in opposition to those wishes.
In addition, because the SRC is an appointed body and not an elected one, you and the other commissioners should make every effort to make sure the public has ample opportunity to be heard on such an important decision. The SRC’s announcement, which comes just six days before it intends to vote on the resolution to extend, does not give the public ample opportunity to consider the merits or to be involved in this vital public policy. And unlike all other Pennsylvanians, Philadelphians do not have the ability to vote out of office the SRC members who appear to be attempting to undermine the democratic process.
Before Dr. Hite’s contract was approved three years ago, the SRC held public hearings. While we believe it is inappropriate, at this time, to consider a contract extension for Dr. Hite, the very least the SRC should do is to hold public hearings to allow Philadelphians to participate in this critical decision.
Lisa Haver, Co-founder
Karel Kilimnik, Co-founder
Hite deserves extension
Philadelphia Inquirer – December 14, 2015
SRC Chairwoman Neff doubles-down on her support of Hite. (Scroll down to the last letter. Read the comments.)