Karel Kilimnik – SRC testimony – October 15, 2015

Hunger Games in Philadelphia – Removing choice from Wister School Parents

I think that before my time starts I should be able to read the following answer given by the SRC to a question I have asked since the August meeting. My question “What committees do each of the commissioners chair? “Since reading on her LinkedIn page that Ms. Jimenez chairs the Charter School I wondered what other committees do commissioners lead so I asked. I was very clear that since I was asking my question in a public meeting that I expected the answer to be given publicly. It came in an email addressed to me.

Here’s the answer I received – “To date, the SRC has chosen not to operate through a formal committee structure. Since 2012, there have been two ad hoc advisory committees which are meant to facilitate staff briefings, an ad hoc advisory Finance Committee overseen by Commissioner Houston, and an ad hoc advisory Charter Schools Committee overseen initially by Commissioner Joseph Dworetsky and later by Commissioner Farah Jimenez.” Really. It took three months to figure this out? Add this to the mounting fiasco created by Dr. Hite, the Broadie trained superintendent determined to out source every possible function of district workers to private companies unfit to care for a colony of mealworms(trust me, it’s really hard to mistreat them). Dr. Hite & the SRC you know how to break a contract so break this one with the totally inept Source4Teachers and go back to what was in place.

And now for my testimony. A teacher who is unable to attend tonight wanted me to convey some of her thoughts as she is caught up in the swirling chaos of the district.” The SRC was created to improve the educational climate of this city. Where is the evidence?”

I have been attending meetings held by the district for the Wister school community. I am outraged at the total lack of respect shown for parents by attempting to ram down their throats turning their school community into a renaissance charter school. Where is parental choice now? I guess you learned from both Steele and Muniz-Marin school communities that parents cannot be trusted to vote for a charter operator to run their school so you decided to remove that choice from parental control and impose it through a district mandate.

The Wister meetings are a farce. District staff are there to sell Renaissance charter schools. They do not want to hear parents concerns. They want parents to understand why the best thing to do is turn their school over to a charter management company. They have been trotting out parents from other renaissance charter schools to tell their stories(which are compelling but not relevant to the fact that Wister parents have absolutely no say in the decision making process to turn their school into one). From what I have heard Wister parents want to remain a district school and they want that extra money that a charter management company would get to come to their school. They love their children, they value education,, and they are devoted to their present Wister school community. They like the programs brought into the school. They respect their dedicated principal and teaching staff and do not want to see them changed. This is a message for everyone. Do not think that your school is immune from being turned into a Renaissance charter school or a turnaround school or simply closed. The Hunger Games continue to reign in Philadelphia as each school has to fight to survive. This could come to your school next time around. Until we get rid of this superintendent and the SRC we continue to suffer under their reign of terror, chaos, and churn.

This brings me to Resolution A1 on terminations and approval of personnel. Where can we find the salaries of all these recently hired administrative personnel? Here’s an idea. Send them out to cover substitute vacancies presently vacant due to the incompetent Source4Teacher private company.