In a major victory for students, teachers, support staff, and principals, the Hite administration will present a reopening plan featuring a full virtual program for at least the first two months of school.
“The health and safety of the children and adults must be the first consideration in any reopening plan,” said APPS co-founder Lisa Haver. “For now, those who feared returning to buildings without proper ventilation and adequate custodial services can focus on making sure children have the tools they need to learn, in particular reliable internet service.” Haver added that any hybrid plan considered for future months must fully involve District stakeholders.
Superintendent Hite had submitted a hybrid plan at last week’s remote Board of Education meeting. That plan was met by almost unanimous opposition by more than 100 people who testified over the 8-hour meeting. Rather than vote to reject Hite’s plan, the Board took an unexpected vote to recess the meeting, taking no action on any of the Agenda Items. The Items totaled over $190 million in spending, including the estimated cost of the hybrid plan.
“The Board recessed the meeting just after the speakers portion of the agenda. But they must allow speakers to weigh in on the new plan before taking a vote,” said Haver. “The public had months to be heard via surveys and online meetings. We now have just a couple of days to review an entirely new plan. That is not true public engagement. In addition, the public deserves a full explanation of what business may have transpired behind the scenes during the meeting.”
The Board came under criticism from APPS members and others for apparent violations of the PA Sunshine Act. Board President Joyce Wilkerson could be heard on an open mic asking someone whether the Board should recess before voting on anything. Also, the Board also failed to take public comments when a motion was introduced during the meeting.