by Diane Payne
January 4, 2018
Ringing Out 2017
All five members of the School Reform Commission were present. The Head of the Office of General Counsel, Lynn Rauch, was introduced at this meeting; she replaces Interim Director Miles Shorr. Five members of APPS spoke in defense of public education. To view their testimony, please go to APPSPhilly.net. APPS members attend every SRC meeting to monitor and report on questionable, often destructive, SRC decisions that undermine public education–actions that otherwise would go unreported and undetected.
Sunshine Act Again Behind the Clouds
The SRC continues to violate the PA Sunshine Act, even after the 2015 court-ordered settlement between the district and APPS. The SRC agreed to post resolutions two weeks prior to every meeting to give the public ample opportunity to review them. However, just one week before this meeting, resolutions were posted on the non-renewal of Aspira Olney and Aspira Stetson, and on the revocation of Khepera Charter. These resolutions did not just pop up unexpectedly. These charter renewals had been tabled for over a year and a half. It is amazing that this body continues to flaunt the letter and spirit of the Sunshine Act as well as the stipulations of the APPS court settlement.
Commissioner Bill Green made a motion to add a walk-on resolution (SRC-10) to increase the seat enrollment of Independence Charter school by 25 seats. Because of the APPS Sunshine Act agreement, audience members were permitted to sign up to speak for or against the resolution, but there was no explanation or context given for the action. Regular attendees were not surprised to see Green once again going above and beyond for charter investors.