Click the picture to see video of Karel’s testimony.
Good evening to all.
Last week Ms. Jimenez referred to my testimony at the end of the SRC meeting.
I said it is admirable that 3 members of the SRC came out to one school to discuss its future. That school is not facing closure or takeover by charter or loss of all of their staff by being placed in the turnaround network. Their problem is that they may have to relocate as the district is spending a lot of money each year to keep it in its Center City location. Why is that same concern absent from Huey, Cooke, & Wister school communities. Where is their concern about hearing from these school communities? Where is their concern for the 4 schools placed in the Turnaround Network -Mitchell, Roosevelt, Rhodes, and Muniz-Marin who stand to lose their principals and teachers?
Ms. Jimenez said “To set the record straight there were hearings at those 3 schools at which community members chose not to be present.” That was not my issue nor my question. I asked why 3 SRC commissioners came to SLA but not to Cooke, Huey, or Wister or the 4 new turnaround schools to hear their concerns. It appears that only certain schools merit the attention of SRC commissioners.
Now that I have clarified what I asked last week let me move onto the budget. Thanks to Chair Neff the Resolutions for Action meetings have been posted ahead of time. However, not for today. So the public was unable to access the lump sum statement nor the preliminary 5 year plan. We had to wait until this evening.
We have to recognize that Gov. Corbett appointed 3 of the SRC commissioners. His agenda was to strip public education of funding. He ripped out $1 billion and we are still suffering from the loss of that money. Gov. Wolf wants to restore funding but an obstinate, uncompromising legislature refuses to do so. Now we have district leadership and SRC commissioners who spend money on outside legal counsel including challenging two lower court decisions to negotiate a contract with the PFT and challenging the right of every school to have a counselor; they continue to shower private companies with contracts; and hire a slew of administrators at six figure salaries many of whom have direct ties to charter operators such as assistant superintendent of the Opportunity Network Christina Grant with her connections to the Great Oaks Foundation angling to take over Cooke school despite numerous concerns.
Budgets are all about priorities. So is this budget going to continue to be barebones with schools competing against each other as in the Hunger Games or is it to be a restorative budget with the district allocating funds for each school to have full staffing including a certified school nurse, counselor, and certified school librarian? Restorative or doomsday – which budget is being proposed.