Ears on the SRC: March 23, 2017

SRC 3-23-17 pic #1

by Diane Payne
March 30, 2017

This March 23rd meeting of the School Reform Commission had been posted on the School District (SD) website for months as a regularly scheduled Action Meeting. For some reason, many of those who called the district to sign up to speak were told they had to speak on the topic of next year’s budget. APPS sent an email to the SRC requesting that they inform the district employees who take registration information that the district had never posted this as a budget meeting and that the public cannot be barred from speaking on general topics at any SRC Action Meeting.

Before we begin to look at the only topic on the meeting agenda—the adoption of the $2.8 billion lump sum budget—we should examine the ways in which the SRC continues to shut the public out of the process, withhold information that should be readily available, and violate the letter and spirit of the Sunshine Act.

The 2016 Commonwealth Court-ordered settlement of the suit brought by APPS after SRC violations of the Sunshine Act stipulates that resolutions must be posted two weeks prior to each meeting. However, there was no text or description of the resolution listed posted prior to this meeting. APPS sent an email to Chair Joyce Wilkerson asking why the SRC neglected to post the resolution summary. Ms. Wilkerson replied that the budget was not ready for posting and that the resolution could not be posted until a day or two before the meeting. Thus, the resolution would be treated as a “walk-on”; members of the public could sign up to speak on it at the beginning of the meeting.

We are talking about a $2.8 billion dollar budget here. The city’s budget is approximately $4 billion. Of course, the city posts its budget about a month before their months-long committee process begins, during which the public has at least two opportunities to speak to City Council on it. The SRC voted on this budget BEFORE the public was able to read it. There was a quick power-point presentation on the major points presented by Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson before the SRC voted to approve. This episode carries on the tradition of the SRC’s treating the public’s right to know as a minor point.

Harrisburg Holdup

Click here to read the rest of the Ears on the SRC – March 23, 2017 report.

Defenders of Public Education Speak at the March 23, 2017 SRC Meeting


SRC 3-23-17 pic #1

On March 23rd, 2017 the Philadelphia School Reform Commission met for its second Action Meeting in March.

This is testimony of members of parents, teachers and members of the  Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools at the meeting

Click on the pictures below to view individual videos. Speakers are in order of appearance at the SRC meeting.

Click here to see all of the videos.

Note: The SRC continues to make videoing of their meetings difficult. They confine press to a severely restricted “press area” which makes optimal videoing impossible. In the past videoing was from the left side of the auditorium where there is little traffic or little obstruction of the field of view. The new “press area” is on the right side of the auditorium which has heavy audience traffic and conversation. Also, filming of speakers must be from behind so you rarely get to see their faces. Any obstructions that you see in these videos are the responsibility of the SRC.

APPS protests this infringement of our rights to press freedom and freedom of speech in our right to report to the public about SRC meetings.

Video of  APPS member Karel Kilimnik at the March 23rd SRC meeting.Karel Kilimnik SRC 3-23-17

Click here to read the transcript of Karel’s testimony.

Video of APPS member Tonya Bah at the March 23rd SRC meeting. Be sure to view the end of the video to see Superintendent Hite’s response to Tonya’s testimony.

Tonya Bah SRC 3-23-17

Click here to read Tonya’s response to Superintendent Hite’s comment at the end of her testimony and to read the transcript of her SRC testimony.

Video of APPS member Lisa Haver at the March 23rd SRC meeting.

lisa haver SRC 3-23-17

Click here to read the transcript of Lisa’s testimony.

Click here to view Lisa’s comment after the SRC’s Lump Sum Budget vote.

Video of BayardTaylor School teacher Michelle Gainer at the March 23rd SRC meeting.

Michelle Gainer SRC 3-23-17

Click here to read the transcript of Michelle’s testimony.

Video of Bayard Taylor School teacher Nicole Lepore-Jackson at the March 23rd SRC meeting.

Nicole Lepore-Jackson SRC 3-23-17

Click here to read the transcript of Nicole’s testimony.

Click here to see Nicole’s comment after the SRC budget vote.

Video of Bayard Taylor School teacher Liz Noone at the March 23rd SRC meeting.

Liz Noone SRC 3-23-17

Click here to read the transcript of Liz’s testimony.

Video of APPS member Ilene Poses at the March 23rd SRC meeting.

Ilene Poses SRC pic 5

Click here to read the transcript of Ilene’s testimony.

Video of APPS member Barbara Dowdall at the March 24rd SRC meeting.

Barbara Dowdall pic 3-23-17

Click here to read the transcript of Barbara’s testimony.

Barbara’s testimony was quoted in the Inquirer report on the SRC meeting.

Split SRC approves plan to spend $2.9 billion in 2017-18 – March 23, 2017

Video of APPS member  Cheri Micheau at the March 23rd SRC meeting.

Cheri Micheau's pic 3-23-17

Click here for the transcript of Cheri’s testimony

Video of community member Tomika Anglin at the March 23rd SRC meeting.

tomika anglin 3-23-17

 This video is the the School Reform Commission’s discussion and vote on the Lump Sum Budget FY 2018 – 22. It includes response by Commissioner Green to some of the testimony. It also includes comments from the audience.
SRC budget vote

For newspaper reports of the vote see:

SRC to city, state leaders: Show Us the Money – Notebook – March 24, 2017

Ears on the SRC – March 16, 2017

SRC #3 #2

by Diane Payne
March 20, 2017

All four appointed commissioners—Chair Joyce Wilkerson, Dr. Christopher McGinley, Farah Jimenez, and Bill Green—were present at this regular action meeting of the SRC. Governor Wolf’s appointee for the fifth seat, Estelle Richman, attended as a member of the public. The same Harrisburg legislators who continue to impose this state-controlled system on the people of Philadelphia have held up Richman’s confirmation for several months. But they have no problem rushing through bills to restrict abortion (SB-3), to weaken union protections (SB-166), and to punish Philadelphia for being a sanctuary city ( SD-10).

There were 32 pre-registered speakers and two speakers for the two walk-on resolutions which were not posted before the meeting. The 2016 Commonwealth Court-ordered settlement between APPS and the SRC stipulates that resolutions must be posted two weeks prior to each meeting. The SRC must allow members of the public to sign up, at the meeting, for any resolution posted just before or during the meeting. These stipulations, which were adopted as official rules of the SRC, insure that the letter and the spirit of the PA Sunshine Act are honored.

Eight members of the Alliance spoke at this SRC meeting. APPS members continue to question the priorities of the SRC, bring to light district policies that further privatization, and expose the wasteful spending of scarce dollars on “initiatives” that fail to fulfill the district’s mission of making every school a quality school.

Of the 30 resolutions proposed, one was withdrawn and one passed 3-1. The remaining 28 passed unanimously.

Walk-on Resolutions
Chair Wilkerson opened the meeting by introducing the two walk-on resolutions. Resolution SRC-4 established an advisory committee, which will meet four times a year, on school policy, to be chaired by Commissioner McGinley. Dr. Hite and two other members of the SRC will sit on the committee. Wilkerson stated that it was being established to further “transparency and accessibility”. Committee members will review policies before taking actions and hear presentations by experts before voting on resolutions. The first meeting is scheduled for April 6th at 9:00 a.m. at 440 N. Broad Street.

Once again, this SRC gives lip service to transparency and accessibility. Which teacher, student, working parent or working community member can be present at a 9:00 a.m. weekday meeting? How accessible and how transparent can this really be? APPS members will attend this meeting, and we will see whether its true purpose is to have those representatives of corporations and foundations, already influential in issues of ideology and privatization, in the room.

Click here to read the rest of the post.


Eyes on the SRC – March 23, 2017

SRC 3-16-17 #5clipped

by Karel Kilimnik
March 20, 2017

As much as we would like to send our usual analysis of SRC resolutions, we are not able to—SRC has not posted the Resolution Summary.  

There are two SRC meetings this month, March 16 and March 23. The SRC’s rules state that they must post resolutions two weeks before each meeting. The Resolution List is up, but if you go to “Resolution Summary”, you will find resolutions for the February 16 meeting. APPS members pointed this out to the SRC in an email sent to Chair Joyce Wilkerson last week and in our testimony at the last meeting, but the wrong information is still posted.

This is not just a matter of oversight. After a two-year legal battle, APPS reached a settlement with the SRC that ensures that they follow the letter and spirit of the PA Sunshine Act. The SRC is in violation of that agreement which states that “…the list of proposed resolutions, with fully resolved paragraphs, shall be made available to the public on the official website of the School District at least two weeks prior to a regular public meeting.”

This is the SRC’s information about this Thursday’s meeting, in full:

SRC-1 Adoption of Lump Sum Statement 2017-2018

APPS Analysis: Why has the SRC not posted any resolution in full that will be voted on in a matter of days?

Next SRC meeting:  Thursday March 23, 2017, 4:30 PM at 440 N. Broad Street.  Do you want to testify? Call 215.400.4180 before 3 PM Wednesday to ensure that your voice will be heard.