Karel Kilimnik SRC testimony – April 21, 2016

Karel Kilimnic SRC 4-21-16

Good evening to everyone. I have many questions about the budget and recent decisions made impacting how district money is spent. Once again it’s magic money time. Charter schools are draining money from district run schools and you still persist in turning three more schools over to charter managers. Where is that money coming from?

If you are truly about the children why are you sacrificing Cooke children to an unproven, charter company with no experience managing an elementary school. Cooke School is an ESOL Cluster Center. Why isn’t Great Oaks including any English Language Learners? Aren’t Renaissance Charters supposed to take all of the students? How has the Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs advocated for the English Language Learners at Cooke? Great Oaks also plans on cutting teachers and using low wage uncertified tutors.

The SRC has decided to recommend turning Wister over to Mastery. Look at the stats regarding Wister and all the other schools Mastery runs and the question should really be – Why aren’t you giving a Mastery School to Wister? Is this caring about the Wister children – turning their school over to a low performing charter operator? Aren’t you all about high quality schools for every child?

Dr. Hite brought in the incompetent Source4Teachers who have failed miserably in providing substitute teachers. Presently over 5,000 students are impacted by the lack of a regular teacher. Recently the district declared it was opening summer school for those students who did not have a highly qualified teacher for at least two-thirds of the year. What are you waiting for, Dr. Hite? Terminate Source4Teachers now!

Dr. Hite has announced a campaign to recruit 800 teachers. Notice the language is recruit and not retain. First, the SRC terminates the PFT contract and is still in court challenging lower court rulings declaring it illegal. We get to pay for this, too. Instead of having money go into classrooms money continues to flow to lawyers. Then more turmoil is created with 3 more schools being placed in the Renaissance Charter Program ensuring that all teachers and principals will be removed. Next, there are 4 schools pronounced Turnaround Schools. Principals have to reapply for their positions and only 50% of teachers can be rehired. When I was teaching you stayed at one school and became part of the school community. You got to know families and develop relationships. Colleagues worked together and collaborated. Today you are lucky if you get to stay at one school for the entire school year. There is chaos and disruption inflicted by this administration. This is a deliberate attack on students & their families by constantly upending teachers. And you wonder why there is such a high rate of attrition? It’s been created by this administration as a way to destabilize our public schools.

Here’s another question. Charter Schools get a 5-year contract. When Munoz-Marin School parents voted to stay with the district instead of being managed by ASPIRA they were promised five years to turnaround their school. What happened to that promise? Why do charter schools get 5 years and district schools have their promises denied without any due process?