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Of the 30 resolutions proposed, one was withdrawn and one passed 3-1.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.
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.