Ears on the Board of Education: August 20, 2020

by Diane Payne

The Office of the Inspector General, a purportedly independent office within the District, issued its final report on the botched construction project at Benjamin Franklin High School undertaken for the purpose of co-locating Science Leadership Academy (SLA).  

The OIG report paints a picture of the incompetence of Superintendent Hite and his staff from the planning of the project to its completion. It reveals the shocking disregard for the health and safety of the students and staff at Ben Franklin. It shows how the Hite administration ignored the fears of parents and educators. The Board’s response to the scandal?  Expressions of concern and disappointment, but not one word about accountability. 

Continue reading here.

Board of Education Joint Committee Meeting: August 13, 2020

by Lynda Rubin

Technical Problems Galore

The Board held its first in-person Committee meeting at 440 since its Joint Committee Meeting on April 23, 2020.  Seven of the eight Board members attended in person, but public viewing and participation continued remotely. The public could view via TV or live-stream, but could testify only by phone. The August 13, 2020 Committee meeting is listed as a remote meeting on the District website. The meeting was held in the large 2nd-floor auditorium.The Board members’ desks were configured in 3 rows of 3 desks per row, following  social-distancing guidelines. Staff and presenters sat off-camera until called up. President Wilkerson did not explain why the Board was abandoning the Zoom format, as the rate of new COVID cases have not significantly decreased in the city.

Click here to read the rest of the report.

APPS Calls for the Resignation of Superintendent Hite

In a letter sent this morning, the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools has called on the Board of Education to ask for the resignation of Superintendent William Hite.   

“In light of the many revelations contained in the Inspector General’s report of the Hite administration’s failure to protect the health and safety of the students and staff of Benjamin Franklin and SLA high schools, the members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools call on the Board of Education to ask for the resignation of Superintendent William Hite”, APPS co-founders Lisa Haver and Karel Kilimnik told the Board.   

“Dr. Hite and his team, for over a year, endangered the health and safety of the students and staff of two high schools,” said Haver. “They ignored repeated warnings from parents, principals and teachers. They pushed forward even after the emergency hospitalization of teachers after daily exposure to toxins. The Board of Education should ask for Dr. Hite’s resignation today.”

Click here to read the rest of the press release and the letter to the Board.