Diane Payne testimony transcript from the SRC meeting of August 17, 2017.

diane payne src 8-17-17
Click on the picture to view the meeting. Go to timestamp 22:45

Does SRC stand for School Reform Commission or School Ruse for Closure? Last June we gathered in front of this building with 28 tombstones representing the schools the SRC has buried. We enter this school year with the threat of 3 more public school closures every year for the next 5 years as pledged by Dr. Hite. We saw the attempted cancellation of the teacher’s contract which is another form of closure. We have seen millions of dollars of funds wasted on the SRC’s losing legal fights. This is a closure…a closure of funds that could have gone to the fiscally starved public school children of Philadelphia. We have seen the criminal closing of every school library and the dismissal of every certified school librarian in every Philadelphia public school but 5. Most recently, we see the closure of information available to the public via the supposed updating of the district website. Rather than keep the current system available as they work out the kinks in the new system, they simply take it all down. The old system had many user-friendly problems but to simply disappear content is a closing down of public information.

So, who can we, the families, community members and stakeholders (in other words the TAX PAYERS and VOTERS of this city) go to if we wish to question or protest SRC policies and spending or if we wish to advocate for a different direction or approach? Right here! We get three minutes to have five faces stare back at us and move on to the next 3-minute speaker. This body does not answer to the tax payers or voters of this city. In fact, this body answers to no one. It is a governmental body with control of a $2.8 billion-dollar budget. But, no one oversees the monthly spending or setting of priorities and there is no way for public involvement or accountability.

It is no coincidence that Philadelphia is largely a city of color and as such has had their democratic voice silenced. I call on this commission to publicly support the OCOS timeline and vote to abolish by this fall which will begin the 180 day clock for actual dissolution. We must have local control returned before any future elections can cause more harm to our district as we sit handcuffed on the sidelines. Chair Wilkerson, will you put a resolution on the September agenda to abolish the SRC?