Eyes on the SRC – July 1, 2016


By Lisa Haver

At its June 16 meeting, SRC Chair Marge Neff announced that the June 30 meeting, posted for months on the district’s website, would be moved to July 1 at 10:00 AM—on the cusp of the July 4th holiday weekend. The last time the SRC held a morning meeting, it cancelled the PFT contract, so our antennae are up.

Responding to pressure from APPS, Ms. Neff promised last year to post resolutions at least two weeks before the meeting. But a promise is not a law, so it can be broken anytime—without any penalty—as it has for the last two meetings. In addition to the 130+ resolutions originally posted, the SRC added a significant number of resolutions in the days before the June 16 meeting. That makes it even more difficult to see how much corporate funding is influencing district priorities and how little is actually making it to classrooms. If a resolution is added the day before, there is no way to speak on it until the next meeting—after the resolution has been passed. As of this writing Tuesday, no resolutions have been posted for the Friday meeting.

Given the SRC’s recent action, or lack of action, on the Renaissance renewals, we believe that it is crucial for people to attend this meeting. The SRC has, in effect, rejected the reports presented by its own Charter School Office on the Aspira and Universal schools. The CSO recommended in April that the SRC vote not to renew charters for Aspira Olney High School, Aspira Stetson Middle School, Universal Vare and Universal Audenried. The CSO gave numerous reasons—academic, financial, managerial—why these schools should not be renewed. Rather than accept the CSO’s report, the SRC has entered into private negotiations with Aspira. The Universal renewals have not appeared on the list of the last two meetings, and the SRC has not said when it will vote on them.

We teach our children about democracy, but the SRC, once again, does not feel the need to practice it.

Note: Lisa’s commentary on the subject of the SRC and its failure to observe the rules of democracy is published in Tuesday’s Philadelphia Daily News:

Commentary: SRC is acting as if it’s above the law | Philadelphia Daily News – June 28, 2016

Resolutions were posted by the SRC on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. No mention of the Aspira and Universal charter reauthorization.




Ears on the SRC – June 16, 2016

SRC 6-16-16 #4

By Deborah Grill and Lynda Rubin

In the week just prior to the June 16th meeting, the SRC added 10 new resolutions to the over-130 already posted. They also withdrew, without explanation, 7 resolutions for charter renewals.  Commissioner Farah  Jimenez was not present at the meeting, neither in person nor by phone.

Although renewals for  Aspira Stetson and Aspira Olney were not on the agenda, Stetson students were in attendance.  PA Representative Angel Cruz and Aspira Chairman Fred Ramirez were on the speakers list to speak in favor of the Aspira renewals; neither showed up.  Lisa Haver asked whether they were  taking part instead in the private meetings which Aspira attorney Kenneth Trujillo had alluded to and that the district had acknowledged were taking place.

Click here to read the entire “Ears on the SRC – June 16, 2016

APPS members testimony to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission – June 16, 2016

SRC 6-16-16 #4

On June 16, 2016 the Philadelphia School Reform Commission held its monthly meeting.

This is the testimony of members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools at this meeting.

All seven of the videos can be viewed here.

Click on the pictures below to view the individual video. The videos are in the order of testimony at the meeting.

Robin Roberts 6-16-16 pic

Video of APPS member Robin Roberts testifying at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission meeting – June 16, 2016.

The transcript of Robin’s testimony.

LIsa Haver 6-16-16 pics

Video of APPS member Lisa Haver testifying at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission meeting – June 16, 2016.

Lisa testified about the letter that APPS has sent to Governor Wolf and Mayor Nutter calling for an investigation into the SRC’s charter reauthorization process. The letter can be read here.

Barbara Dowdall 6-16-16 pic

Video of APPS member Barbara Dowdall testifying at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission meeting – June 16, 2016.

The transcript of Barbara’s testimony.

Deborah Grill 6-16-16  pic

Video of APPS member Deborah Grill testifying at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission meeting – June 16, 2016.

The transcript of Debbie’s testimony.

Lynda Rubin 6-16-16 pic

Video of APPS member Lynda Rubin testifying at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission meeting – June 16, 2016.

The transcript of Lynda’s testimony.

Robin Lowry 6-16-16 pic

Video of APPS member Robin Lowry testifying at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission meeting – June 16, 2016.

Richard Migliore 6-16-16 pic

Video of APPS member Richard Miglore testifying at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission meeting – June 16, 2016.

Richard gave each member of the SRC a copy of his book “Whose School Is it? the Democratic Imperative for Our Schools”. In the video of the SRC you can see Bill Green’s copy laying on the floor.

Ears on the SRC – May 26, 2016

full SRC

In preparation for the SRC Meeting on June 16th, APPS looks back at the last SRC meeting.

by Diane Payne
June 14, 2016

APPS Presence

Five APPS members spoke at this SRC meeting on May 26th bearing witness to the actions of the SRC and the Hite administration as they continue to fail the public schools of this city while holding up charters as the silver bullet to our urban education challenges. The APPS members who spoke were: Lynda Rubin, Coleman Poses, Rich Liuzzi, Diane Payne and Lisa Haver. To view the videos of their speech or read the text go to APPS website.

Special Note: Despite repeated requests for SRC commissioners to speak into the mic so that all dialogue can be heard clearly, this continues to be a problem. For example, when Commissioner Houston asked questions on SRC resolutions 5 and 6, the non-renewals of both Aspira Stetson Middle and Aspira Olney High schools, it was very difficult for those in the room to hear. These are critical issues, so we will again request that the SRC speak so the public can hear them.


A five year budget plan for fiscal years 2016 through 2021 was presented by Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson. The budget shows a slight positive fund balance in the first couple of years, which Monson acknowledged was created in large part by the district’s failure to fill dozens of teaching positions in the last two years. Monson said that this balance has enabled the district to restore staffing levels of nurses and counselors to a minimum of one per building even if state funding is reduced. However, a negative fund balance is predicted beginning FY 2019. Both SRC Chair Neff and Superintendent Hite called for continued advocacy for full funding. Hite also stated that the district is currently attempting to engage funders in discussions on how to adequately meet district needs.

Charter school costs, of course, are a large source of School District expenditures and rise equally along the lines of number of seats as well as per pupil rate.

For the complete Ears on the SRC – May 26, 2016 click here.