Joint Board Committee Meeting: May 14, 2020

By Diane Payne and Lisa Haver

Student Achievement Committee

Present via video:  All members of the Student Achievement Committee were present for this remote meeting: Co-Chair Angela McIver;  members Julia Danzy, Mallory Fix Lopez, and Maria McColgan. District Chief of Staff Naomi Wyatt gave a presentation. District Counsel Lynn Rauch attended via phone. McIver read an objection to the proceeding under the PA Sunshine Act raised by community member Michael Burke. McIver did not specify which part of the Act Burke was citing, but she stated that the written objection would be part of the official record and further noted that the Board’s position is that following the State health guidelines does not constitute a violation.  The Committee approved the Minutes from the April 23 joint Student Achievement and Finance and Facilities April committee meeting.  Four Members of APPS testified in defense of public education.  All Board Committee Meetings can be viewed on the Board website and meeting materials and agendas can be viewed on the Board Meeting Material page.

Staff Reports on Online Learning, Enforcement of Policy 252

Wyatt narrated a presentation on the Continuity of Education plan.  This Power-Point included information on distributed chromebooks, internet access, student participation in online learning, and efforts to locate and engage students not yet participating.  Wyatt stated that the District is working with City officials, including the Department of Human Services, to locate students who have had no school contact throughout the school closure in order to assure their well-being and attempt to re-engage them.

Click here to read the rest of the report

 

Ears on the Board of Education: April 30, 2020

by Diane Payne

April brought the Board’s second remote Action Meeting.  There were moments of technical difficulty which took several tries to fix–a reminder of how difficult online learning is for everyone involved.  Online learning is the mask we need during this crisis. It is not the cure.

Tributes to Resigning Board Members

All nine Board members attended, as did the two student representatives and Superintendent Hite.  Minutes of the March Action Meeting were approved. President Joyce Wilkerson opened her remarks with a notice that Action Item 62 had been added to the agenda the day before. This Item calls on the state and federal governments to maintain school funding and not to use the Covid-19 crisis as justification for slashing funding to schools that have suffered for years from inadequate funding.  Per the 2016 legal settlement between APPS and the District regarding walk-on Items, anyone who wished to speak was invited to sign up before the voting began via email or phone. Wilkerson thanked the District’s principals in recognition of the May 1 Principal Appreciation Day, and she thanked teachers in anticipation of Teacher Appreciation Day the following week.  She noted the Board would appear at City Council hearings as Board of Education candidates on Friday, May 1. Wilkerson bid farewell to Wayne Walker and Chris McGinley, both attending their last meeting as Board members. Maria McColgan read a tribute to Walker, and Angela McIver read one to McGinley.  Both Walker and McGinley thanked the Board members and the public they served.   Wilkerson concluded her remarks by urging members of  the public to join the Board in advocating for all levels of government to maintain school funding.

[Video of this meeting can be viewed on the District website.  Agendas and PowerPoints can also be viewed by going to the Board’s meeting materials page.]

Seven members of APPS spoke in defense of public education.  Remarks can be viewed on the APPS website.   Several members of the East Falls community returned to testify against a proposal to allow Laboratory Charter School to move into that neighborhood.

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Budget Presentation and Joint Committee Meetings: April 23, 2020

by Diane Payne and Lynda Rubin

The Board of Education held two consecutive remote meetings: the Lump Sum Budget Presentation and a joint meeting of the Finance and Facilities Committee and the Student Achievement and Support Committee. All members of the Board attended online; Dr. Hite attended the Budget hearing.                                                                                                       [The video of the meetings can be viewed from the Board’s homepage;  the budget power-point can be accessed by visiting the “meeting materials” page.]

Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson provided updated  budget projections for FY 2020/21.  Both President Wilkerson and Dr. Hite urged members of the public to advocate for continued adequate funding from the state. The City’s contribution to the District remains intact for now. Student Representative Doha Ibrahim read prepared remarks on how the Covid-19 has affected the District’s students, seniors in particular.  Her remarks served as a reminder of the human impact behind the budget data.

Read more here.