Diane Payne SRC testimony – April 21, 2016

Diane Payne SRC testimony pic 4-21-16

I am speaking today about budget choices made by the SRC. As everyone in the city is painfully aware, the SDP operates on a continually shrinking budget thanks to legislature’s failure to adequately fund schools in the commonwealth. It is frequently and correctly referred to as a “doomsday budget” thanks to previous Governor Corbett who shrunk our resources to starvation levels. In spite of the reality of trying to educate some of the most vulnerable and at risk students with next to nothing, in climates of churn, disruption and destabilization, the policy of the district continues to be to use this very chaos and churn caused by both failed legislative action as well as internal district decisions such as Source4Teachers and its abysmal fill rate in our buildings as reason to justify even more disinvestment in public schools.

Whatever money is in fact available to educate the children of our city should be prioritized as to what will strengthen our public schools. Source4Teachers is a disastrous example of misuse of public funds which has resulted in a failure to provide state mandated services to our children. At city council last week, it was apparent that thousands of our students are NOT receiving their state mandated instructional hours due to an appalling lack of teachers in classrooms. Yet, you still play the blame and shame game with individual schools through renaissance charter partnering and turnarounds.

Today, I again call on you to invest and support our public school system and to partner with educators, the PFT, students, and the community in the quest to improve our schools.