Defenders of Public Education Speak Before the BOE, December 12, 2019

BOE

Click on the individual’s name to read a transcript of his or her testimony.

Nimet Eren on Proposed Health Sciences Leadership Charter School

Jenifer Felix on Proposed Health Sciences Leadership Charter School

Lisa Haver on the Board’s Gifts to Charter Schools

Karel  Kilimnik on Community Disengagement

Kristin Luebbert on Anti-Racist Training

Maddie Luebbert on Proposed Health Sciences Leadership Charter School

Barbara McDowell Dowdall on Board Practices

Diane Payne on the Corporate Influence in Action Items

Robin Roberts on the Access Program

Lynda Rubin on the Outsourcing of District Responsibilities

Susan Wienand on Proposed Health Sciences Leadership Charter School

 

Ears on the Board of Education: December 12, 2019

by Diane Payne

Once again APPS members stood in unison and exercised our legal right to object to the Board’s violation of the PA Sunshine Act under Section 710 (c). The Board fails to post in advance or to read the full text into the record at the time of the vote, in effect voting in secret. The full text, although dated 12/12/19,  did not appear on the District website until 12/14/19. That is a falsification of the public record, as is reporting in the official Minutes that the Board voted on the full resolution at the meeting.

District counsel Lynn Rauch had consulted with APPS co-founder Lisa Haver before the meeting about whether APPS would be objecting again and how.  Lisa told her that, as we had in the previous two Action Meetings, we would be making one objection before the votes on charter Items, that it would take about one minute, and that the objection had to be noted for the record and reported in the Minutes. For some reason, Board member Chris McGinley began to speak over us, moving to approve the first Mastery charter. President Wilkerson said nothing, but Rauch interrupted him to explain the procedure. For the third month in a row, not one member of  the Board addressed the objection. McGinley again moved to approve Mastery Charter High School (aka Mastery Lenfest Charter).

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Student Achievement and Support Committee Report, December 5, 2019

by Lynda Rubin

In response to repeated public requests, the Board Committees have begun posting the Committee agendas, including descriptions of Action Items to be considered, one week before the meeting. However, 7 new items were added to the agenda just hours before this meeting, 6 of which are charter renewals (including 5 Mastery charters). Yet the CSO had sufficient time to prepare an extensive power-point presentation. We also question how parents and students from all 5 Mastery schools were printed on the official speakers list. How did charter supporters sign up 24 hours ahead of time to speak on Action Items that were not publicly posted until 5 hours before the meeting? 

Additionally, the power-point slides prepared for the District Reports by staff were not posted until the day after the meeting. Board members continue to say that Committee meetings are where deliberation and dialogue take place, and have used that justification for not responding to questions at Action Meetings.  The Board continues to withhold information about charter matters until after the Board votes. How can people ask informed questions with limited information? 

Present: Chair Angela McIver, Committee members Mallory Fix Lopez, Julia Danzy,  Maria McColgan; Student Representative Doha Ibrahim. Leticia Egea-Hinton also attended. Co-Chair Chris McGinley was absent, but did review materials before the meeting and left questions for staff.

Minutes from the November 14, 2019 committee meeting were approved and will be posted on the website.

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Finance and Facilities Committee Report: December 5, 2019

by Lisa Haver

At this last meeting of 2019, the Committee heard updates about abatement of environmental crises and the Comprehensive School Planning Review (CSPR). Content of Action Items under review were neither distributed to the public nor projected during the meeting. The power-point presentations were not posted online until the day after the meeting.

Present: Co-chair Leticia Egea-Hinton, Committee Members Wayne Walker and  Joyce Wilkerson. Board members Christopher McGinley, Maria McColgan, Mallory Fix Lopez, and Julia Danzy also attended.  Co-chair Lee Huang was absent; Walker acted as Co-chair. Dr. Hite, who presented the updates on the SLA/Franklin, Peirce Elementary and other environmental crises sites at the November Committee meeting, did not attend.

Minutes of the November meeting were approved by voice vote.

APPS members have asked when questions raised in Committee meetings by the public, and by Board members themselves, would be answered. In one step toward accountability, the meeting began with updates from senior staff to answer questions asked in previous meetings.

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