Many people have come to SRC meetings since last October armed with data and facts. Many have come to represent the strength of the opposition to having their public school given away to a charter company. Many have come to show how devastating losing another public school would be to their community.
The Notebook just published another well-reasoned and well-researched article on the inconsistencies of the district’s SPR rating. One Commissioners agreed that it had serious flaws. Councilwoman Helen Gym’s office has released in-depth analyses of the Great Oaks Charter application and history which shows that the company, which has never run a K-8 school, would have inadequate resources for ELLs, and wants to use untrained and underpaid tutors for instruction.
Conflicts of interest have become the norm for the SRC commissioners. We have twice asked Commissioner Green, whose priority now is to be in charge, to explain how he had a conversation with a PSP executive about the January resolution which Commissioner Simms told the public she had just written and introduced—5 days before the meeting, and Chairwoman Neff has refused to conduct any investigation on that. Commissioner Simms has refused to answer any questions about whether she is involved with the political and financial activities of her sister, as they are co-founders of an organization. Commissioner Jimenez, when asked to explain why she took part in votes and discussions on contracts with Mastery when she had recused herself before, not only refused to answer but had her lawyer send us an intimidating letter.
Does any of this matter? Apparently not. Many of us voted two days ago because we believe in democracy. But when it comes to our schools, and the future of our children and our neighborhoods, the people who make those decisions operate outside of the democratic system. Why? Because they are not elected by anyone and they are not accountable to anyone. We were taught in school that our democracy works under a system of checks and balances. But there is no check on the SRC. They do what they want despite the facts, the data or the wishes of the people
No matter the reason people come here, or which position they take, it is becoming more and more an act of faith just to show up. Because we still believe that what we say here matters. The reason some of us come is not because we think the SRC listens to the people, but so that the people can hear each other and organize to save public education.