by Karel Kilimnik
APPS has been keeping its collective eyes wide open for almost five years now, but this edition marks the first anniversary of our Eyes on the SRC. We believe the public has a right to know—and understand—what the SRC is voting on. This tumultuous year has brought more resolutions of outsourcing and privatization, recommendations from the Charter School Office (CSO) for non-renewals of underperforming charter schools, and skyrocketing legal fees as the SRC and district seek to overturn lower court rulings on the cancellation of the PFT contract and other matters. It’s been a year fraught with upheaval as over 5,000 students sat in classrooms without full-time teachers, a situation exacerbated by the district’s disastrous decision to approve a $34 million contract to outsource substitutes. Despite the too-little-too-late acknowledgment by Superintendent William Hite of the incompetence of Source4Teachers, the district chose to go with yet another private company rather than return to the use of union employees.
In May, the CSO recommended non-renewal of ASPIRA Stetson Middle School and ASPIRA Olney High School, as well as Universal Audenreid and Universal Vare. The SRC engaged in a seventeen minute discourse with lawyer Ken Trujillo at the May 19 SRC meeting (his mic wasn’t turned off after three minutes, as all other speakers are) during which he promised to fix all of the ASPIRA irregularities within weeks. However, we find not a whisper about ASPIRA or Universal in this present list of resolutions.
Although it says publicly that resolutions are posted two weeks before the meeting, that has not stopped the SRC from adding some at the last minute. Or will there be a resolution from the floor like the one introduced by Commissioner Sylvia Simms and approved by the SRC in January to hand Wister Elementary over to Mastery—which the public was not allowed to speak on?
And as we have seen almost every year at this time, there have been several changes in top-level staff at 440.
**Please note: as of August 18 the new time for SRC Action meetings is 4:30 PM.