APPS letter to Commissioner Green questioning his leaving meetings during speaker testimony

bill green

May 3, 2017

Commissioner William Green

School Reform Commission

School District of Philadelphia

440 North Broad Street

Philadelphia PA   19130

Dear Commissioner Green,

At each of the last two School Reform Commission meetings, April 27, 2017 and May 1, 2017, you left the meetings very early in the proceedings, without explanation, then rejoined the meeting by phone just before the last registered speaker was called up. On April 27, you left after speaker #11 and called in at 8:30 PM, just before speaker #58 was summoned. On May 1st, you left at 4:03 PM, while Commissioner McGinley was questioning Belmont Charter School CEO Michael Karp about ELL and other compliance issues, and before SRC Commissioner Wilkerson questioned Mr. Karp about conflict of interest concerns. You called in at 6:34 PM to re-enter the meeting, just before the votes were taken on resolutions.

These actions violate SRC Policy 006.1, Attendance at Meetings via Electronic Communications, adopted October 5, 2011, specifically:

A Commissioner who attends a meeting through electronic communications shall be considered present only if the Commissioner can hear everything said at the meeting and all those attending the meeting can hear everything said by that Commissioner. If the SRC Chairperson determines either condition is not occurring, s/he shall terminate the Commissioner’s attendance through electronic communications.

A majority of Commissioners shall be physically present at an SRC meeting when a Commissioner attends through electronic communications.

To attend a SRC meeting through electronic communications, a Commissioner shall comply with the following:

a. Submit such request to the SRC Chairperson or designee at least three (3) days prior to the meeting.

b. Ensure that the remote location is quiet and free from background               noise and interruptions.

c. Participate in the entire SRC meeting.

On both of these occasions, you did not hear everything said at the meeting and did not participate in the entire SRC meeting.

These two SRC meetings were among the most important meetings of the school year. The SRC discussed the district’s $2.9 billion budget on April 27. The special action meeting on May 1 was called specifically to vote on charter renewals and amendments.

At the April 27 meeting, you missed the testimony of 50 parents, students, district employees and community members, in addition to questions and comments by other commissioners. At the May 1 meeting, you missed two of the Charter Applicant Speaker Representatives and 23 of the 24 public speakers. You were not present to hear any part of the presentation by Charter School Office Executive Director Dawn Lynn Kacer and CSO Program Manager Megan Reamer on the 23 charter renewals and two charter amendments.

Your apparently planned absences are disrespectful to the parents, students, employees and community members who took the time to research and write testimony on these important issues. The short notice of the May 1 meeting meant that many of those who attended did so after reorganizing their personal and professional schedules in order to address the Commission.

More importantly, your failure to be present for these meetings reflects a disregard for the responsibility that an SRC commissioner has to the stakeholders of the district. A commissioner’s actions should indicate more than an adherence to his own ideology about district policy and mission. All commissioners should bring to the table a willingness to consider the issues raised by parents, students, employees and taxpayers.

Your failure to adhere to both the letter and the spirit of the SRC’s policies calls into question your ability to serve on that body. We ask that you consider resigning your post in order to allow the governor to appoint someone who will be fully committed to serving the public.

Sincerely,

Lynda Rubin
Legislative Liaison

Lisa Haver
Co-founder