Karel Kilimnik SRC testimony transcript – September 15, 2016

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We need a high quality school district. We need a school district where every school receives the necessary resources not a patchwork of under-resourced schools. Where is your plan for a high quality school district?

Déjà vu again. After the massacre of 23 schools in 2013 resulting in vacant school buildings in some of our most vulnerable neighborhoods the district is revisiting that failed policy from 2001 called Educational Management Organizations or EMO’s. To speed up the privatization cycle and eliminate unionized staff Dr. Hite, with the blessing of the SRC , is reopening Vaux high school as a “contract school”, with Big Picture, a non-profit operating over 60 schools in the US with varying degrees of success. What is a “contract school”? Is it a charter school? Is it a private school? Why isn’t Vaux being reopened as a neighborhood public school?

Is this your new game plan to close schools and then reopen them as a contract school bringing in a private management agency? According to resolution B9 this project is a partnership with Philadelphia Housing Authority so obviously planning has been going on for awhile…just out of the public’s view. Who knows maybe closing Vaux in 2013 was part of this PHA plan for its redevelopment of the Sharswood community.

In 2013 Vaux was deemed to be under-enrolled so where are all these new students coming from? Who is going to monitor this new entity? Who is going to hold them accountable? Presently the SRC has a terrible track record with both transparency and accountability. Witness the Aspira debacle. If the SRC was unaware of the atmosphere rife with sexual harassment and intimidation at Aspira why didn’t they know? Or did they simply choose to ignore the situation? Why are you repeating a failed policy of using EMOs to manage schools?

Dr. Hite has stated that he plans on closing 3 schools a year. Does that mean actually closing the school or turning them into Renaissance charters or placing them in the Turnaround Network. My question tonight is tell us which schools are targeted and for what specific changes?