Eyes on the SRC: June 15, 2017

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by Karel Kilimnik
June 11, 2017

The district continues to cry poor even as it accelerates the flow of money into the pockets of vendors, charter school operators, consultants, and pseudo-research entities like Cambridge Education, thus diverting funds which should be spent on services to our students. APPS has reported on this alarming escalation for the past two years of writing our Eyes on the SRC. Outside law firms continue to harvest public money. Who is really transforming education—entrepreneurs or educators?

Cambridge Education returns to drain more money from the District to conduct more “school quality reviews”. Their shoddy work provided the justification for the changes to 11 schools thrown into the Priority School category, Dr Hite’s latest plan for “transforming” schools” or to be more accurate forcing teachers out of their schools and destabilizing school communities.

Not only has the district failed to negotiate a contract with PFT, they continue to create chaotic conditions in our schools by forcing teachers to transfer from one school to another under the guise of “turning around” schools. The goal of the Hite administration appears to be destabilizing schools.

Dr Hite has announced his plan to close three neighborhood schools every year starting next year. This while the SRC approves more substandard charters. Where will the students and teachers of these schools go? Does Dr. Hite care?

We urge all of those who have been displaced by school closings—and those who will be—to come to APPS’ Requiem for Philly’s Closed Schools Thursday June 15th at 3:30 as we remember the 29 neighborhood schools shuttered since 2011—and stop the district from closing more.

What If…?

What if the $19 million in contracts to vendors for the purpose of outsourcing district services were funneled back to the schools? CFO Uri Monson, in answer to a question from Commissioner Green, stated that it would cost $24 million to replace the librarians in every public school. $19 million would cover 75% of that. The priority of the SRC is to enrich private vendors by outsourcing and redundant “research” reports, not to enrich the education of our students.

If the SRC approves all resolutions, as it usually does, they will spend $205 million at this one meeting.

Next SRC Action Meeting: Thursday, June 15, 4:30 PM. The SRC has also scheduled one for Friday, June 30 at 4:30 PM. No explanation of why they need to hold a meeting on Friday of the 4th of July holiday weekend. To testify, call 215 400 4180 before 3 PM the day before the meeting.

 Note: After the completion of this edition of Eyes, the SRC posted additional charter renewal resolutions late Friday afternoon. We will try to keep you updated on this. See KIPP resolution at the end of the resolution list.


 Click here to see Resolutions of Note and the APPS analysis.

 

Eyes on the SRC: Thursday, March 25, 2017

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Eyes on the SRC: May 25, 2017
by Lisa Haver

SCHOOL REFORM COMMISSION PUBLIC MEETING RESOLUTION LIST : As of 5/23/2017

SCHOOL REFORM COMMISSION

  1. SRC-1  Adopts an amended Operating Budget for 2016/2017 and an Operating Budget for 2017/2018
  2. SRC-2  Adopts an amended Capital Budget for 2016/2017 and an amended Capital Program for 2017-

2022 and Adopts a Capital Budget for 2017/2018 and a Capital Program for 2018-2023

  1. SRC-3  Approves an agreement with the Philadelphia Intermediate Unit to provide an educational program and auxiliary services to nonpublic school students for 2017/2018
  2. SRC-4* Proposed Action on Revised Charter Application – Deep Roots Charter School
  3. SRC-5** Proposed Adoption of Adjudication – Laboratory Charter School of Communication and Languages (Added 5.23.17)
  4. EDUCATION SUPPORT SERVICES
  5. A-1  Operating Budget: Amendment of Lease Agreement with 18 South Seventh Street Associates, L.P. – Constitution High School (Added 5.23.17)
  6. A-2  Operating Budget: Amendment of Lease Agreement with 2130Arch Street Associates, L.P. – Science Leadership Academy (Added 5.23.17)

III. EDUCATION SERVICES
None Submitted

  1. INTERMEDIATE UNIT
  2. IU-1  Adopts an amended Philadelphia Intermediate Unit Budget for 2016/2017 and a Philadelphia Intermediate Unit Budget for 2017-2018
  3. IU-2  Approves an Agreement with the Philadelphia School District to provide an educational program and auxiliary services to nonpublic school students for 2017-2018

*Consideration of the Revised Charter Application (SRC-4) by the School Reform Commission would be a quasi-judicial action. Please refer to the Charter Schools Office Renewal Recommendation Report available on the Charter Office website.

**Consideration of the Adoption of the Charter Adjudication (SRC-5) by the School Reform Commission would be a quasi-judicial action. Please refer to the Charter Schools Office Amendment Evaluation Report available on the Charter Office website.

***Please refer to currently available Budget Documents here.


Above is the Current Resolution List for the Thursday, May 25 SRC Action Meeting. It is the only information that the SRC has posted on its website for that meeting. As we searched in vain over the past two days for a Resolution Summary, we saw that items were added to the list almost hourly.

Up until Tuesday afternoon, the only items listed were the first three on the budget. As of Wednesday morning, there are ten. No information is given for any of them.

Two different listings are posted (Upcoming Resolution List, May 25 and Current Resolution List, May 25) with different information on each. This is not just confusing, but it seems to be a deliberate tactic to withhold information from the public.

The SRC continues to give lip service to transparency and community engagement. But it is clear that they will continue to vote on crucial issues with no regard to their responsibility—as government officials— to the stakeholders of the district.

APPS sent the following letter to the SRC Wednesday morning:

Dear Chair Wilkerson and Commissioners:

On February 8, 2017, after a lengthy public hearing process, the SRC voted to deny the new charter application submitted by Deep Roots Charter. The Resolution List for May 25, just posted today, indicates that the SRC will vote on a revised application from Deep Roots. No Resolution Summary has been posted, in violation of the Sunshine Act settlement agreement between the school district, the SRC and the Alliance. Thus, no details of the revised application have been provided to the public.

The district website indicates that the Charter Schools Office evaluation of the new application was posted yesterday, May 22, just three days before the SRC vote.  There has been no hearing process at which the public could be apprised of the contents of any new application or any opportunity for the public to comment on it.

We request that the SRC withdraw the resolution and schedule at least one hearing at which concerned members of the public will have an opportunity to speak on this major expenditure of district funds.

Sincerely,

Lisa Haver
Karel Kilimnik

Eyes on the SRC: May 18, 2017

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by Karel Kilimnik
May 15, 2017

Outsourcing of professional development for teachers and administrators continues with this month’s resolutions. Relay Graduate School of Education, which received a contract just two months ago, will be paid to send three assistant superintendents and nine principals to a twelve-day summer program in Texas. Dave Levin, co-founder of KIPP, is also one of the Relay founders. KIPP has a large presence in Texas.

After four years, the district still has not reached a settlement with PFT members. That may be the reason that the district has had to undertake a large recruitment effort for the second year in a row. Resolution  A-2 calls for the Office of Talent to “develop, implement, and refine a pilot Teacher Residency Program for the District”. It’s ironic that this recruitment effort is being underwritten by the Philadelphia School Partnership. PSP has made the forcing out of teachers a condition for funding school transformations, including Blaine and WD Kelley elementary schools.


What If…?
Instead of paying $415,800 to a vendor to provide a summer school literacy program at seven schools, every school could determine what summer enrichment program to provide for its students. If we took all of the money from contracts going to corporate education vendors at this one SRC meeting, there would be over $1 million for almost 20 summer school programs.

Note: The next two SRC Action Meetings will be held on Thursday May 18 and Thursday May 25, both at 4:30 PM. To register to speak, call 215.400.4180 before 3PM the previous day.

Click here to read selected Resolutions for the May 18th meeting and the APPS analysis.

Eyes on the SRC: May 1, 2017

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by Lisa Haver
April 28, 2017

APPS publishes its Eyes on the SRC before each meeting as a preview of what the SRC will be voting on and how much taxpayer money they will be spending.

This time, however, we can only tell you that the SRC has decided to not tell the public what they intend to do at a meeting just a couple days from now. No agenda has been posted. No list of resolutions. Just a list of the schools they might be voting on.

The SRC scheduled a meeting for Monday May 1 at 3 PM with less than one week’s notice. Newspaper articles have said that they intend to vote on renewal proposals for 26 charter schools.  To add insult to injury, the SRC passed a resolution last Thursday to cap speakers for this meeting at 24. There is no notice of this change of policy on the district’s website.

The PA Sunshine Act stipulates that the SRC must tell the public exactly what it is voting on. They continue to violate this law.  They are also violating the court-ordered settlement reached between the district and APPS just last year in which they agreed to post resolutions two weeks before each meeting.

We hope you can make it to this meeting, but we know that many will not be able to because it is at 3 PM.  We must demand that the SRC respect the rights of the public and obey the law.