Lisa Haver testimony to the SRC – January 21, 2016

Lisa Haver SRC 1-21-16

SRC Spending Priorities

At the November 2015 SRC meeting, a frustrated parent told the SRC, “You just make rules up.” So true.

The SRC declared new rules on listing speakers last month. But since the SRC just makes them up as it suits them, and people have no way to know until they get here where they are on the list, or whether they are on the list, it really makes no difference what they say the rules are.

In December the SRC, without any public deliberation, preemptively extended the contract of Superintendent Hite. Ms. Neff told reporters it was to maintain “stability”, something which fewer and fewer schools know the meaning of. At the same time, the SRC is still spending money on lawyers to cancel the contract it negotiated with teachers, nurses and other school professionals.

APPS received the following information through a RTK request on what the district is spending on lawyers in that case and the case, which the SRC lost in arbitration, that calls for at least one counselor in every school, assigned by seniority.

The information we received only covers fees paid through October.

One firm, Bazelon Feldman, received a total of $1, 074, 234. 02 for representation in both cases.

The firm Hangley Aaronchick received $279, 56l. 04 for the contract cancellation case.

The firm of Buchanon Ingersoll received $42, 120. 82 for the counselor case.

Totals so far for each case:

Contract: $1, 034. 224. 09

Counselor: $361, 692. 49

TOTAL: $1, 395, 916. 58

That is for just two cases and doesn’t cover what they have paid since October.

In addition, the district has spent over $2 million in lawyers fees in defending itself for firing an employee who blew the whistle on corruption during the Ackerman administration. And it will cost them about three-quarters of a million to pay the defendant back pay and damages. $2 million on lawyers. Even though the district pays its own lawyers in its own legal department.

When principals have to act as nurse, counselor and secretary, the School District cites budget cuts. Teachers spend their own money on supplies because the district says it doesn’t have enough money. A man is in the hospital with severe burns because the district ignored warnings from his union that buildings are not being maintained in a safe manner.

Chairwoman Neff told us in September, concerning the failure of the SRC’s scheme to outsource substitutes:  “… we take full responsibility for our vote to approve this contract and will work with the district to ensure that this performance improves drastically in the coming weeks.” Of course, this situation has only gotten worse, and the SRC has no intention of canceling the Source4Teachers contract. But for the SRC, talk is cheap.