Board Withholds Information About $375 Million Bond Deal

by Diane Payne and Lisa Haver

The Board of Education held two meetings on the afternoon of October 7: one to consider a bond issuance of approximately $400 million and the other to allow members of the public to address their concerns about the District.  

The Board followed the letter of the law by posting a small notice about this special meeting in the classified section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. They also entered the time of the meeting, with no details, in their online calendar.  The Board held this meeting at 1 PM, knowing that most stakeholders could not attend, with teachers and students  in school and most parents at work. When the Board finally posted the Action Item, just days before the meeting, it gave nothing but the title–not even the amount.  The legal notice had more information than the agenda posted online and in the copy distributed at the meeting. The Board clearly wanted to vote on this $375 bond issue after a minimum of public disclosure. 

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Testimony of APPS and community members to the Board of Education, September 23, 2021

Click on the title to read a transcript of the individual speaker’s testimony.

Board Must Hold Hite Accountable by Lisa Haver

Board of Education, Do Your Job! by Stephanie King

When Will Accountability Become Part of the Board’s Focus? by Dr. Cherie Micheau

End the Incompetence! by The Racial Justice Organizing Committee

Speaker Suppression Continues by Diane Payne

No to Empowerment Charter re-Application and No to renew Tech Freire by Ilene Poses

Classroom Air Quality Needs Improvement, Now! by Lizzie Rothwell

Learning While Healing by Lynda Rubin

Board Finds New Ways to Disrespect Community

Ears On The Board of Education: September 23, 2021

by Diane Payne

The Board’s deliberate and mean-spirited disrespect for the students, parents, educators, and community members  was the lowlight of this meeting. Board President Wilkerson moved speakers way down the agenda, calling on them after a lengthy presentation. At this “hybrid meeting”, the Board allowed into the auditorium only those who signed up to speak in person. With about 80% of the room empty,  at least 50 people could fit with more than adequate distancing.  After all, the Board has no problem with filling classrooms  with little ventilation to capacity or having students, in the words of Student Representative Rebecca Allen,  “packed like sardines” in hallways.  In fact, half of the Board members attended virtually, including Julia Danzy and Marie McColgan, who have supported all of the administration’s plans for full return to school buildings since last year, falsely claiming that most parents supported the administration’s plan.  Once again, there was a persistent echo in the auditorium, making it difficult for attendees to hear. The camera was positioned so far back that those viewing at home could not see the faces of the Board members or tell who was speaking. 

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Eyes on the Board of Education: September 23, 2021

by Karel Kilimnik

“There’s a tremendous gap between public opinion and public policy.”

  Noam Chomsky

The rapid spread of the Covid Delta variant,  with a large part of the population still un-vaccinated,  has resulted in rising hospitalizations and deaths once again. Philadelphia schools have opened with mask requirements, some Covid student testing, and a soon to be implemented vaccination requirement for school staff. Last April, the District issued a press release to announce the launching of “a new COVID-19 dashboard, providing the latest information on confirmed positive cases in our schools”. Dr Hite said,  “We understand that having access to real-time information about COVID positivity rates in our schools is important for our families and community, and we are happy to provide this new tool.” 

But like many items on the District website, it is not easy to find. The District should post it on its homepage.  

To read more, click here.