Ears on the Board of Education, November 21, 2019

by Diane Payne

The eight APPS members in attendance, along with our supporters, stood and read in unison our legal objection to the Board’s ongoing violations of the PA Sunshine Act–this month the secret vote on the Boys Latin Charter School renewal.  This Board votes on all charter school issues (and only charter school issues) without providing the text of the Action Item or reading the text of the Item into the record. This is tantamount to voting in secret because the public has no information on the details on this item at the time of the vote.  President Wilkerson attempted to gavel and talk over us, thus failing to acknowledge the Board’s obligation to listen to members of the public formally objecting under Section 710(c) of the PA Sunshine Act.

About a dozen school nurses showed up to protest the mismanagement of Health Services in the District.  The eloquent and comprehensive testimonies of the nurses showed once again that Philadelphia school nurses are highly professional, credentialed, and competent.

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Finance and Facilities Committee: November 14, 2019

by Lisa Haver

This Committee meeting, the second of three consecutive meetings on this day, presented a great deal of new and updated information.  Committee members answered few of the questions asked by public speakers. Staff presentations were not posted prior to the meeting, nor were hard copies of Action Items provided at the meeting. In violation of the Board’s speaker policy, some speakers were granted more time than others.

Present:  Co-chairs Leticia Egea-Hinton and Lee Huang, Committee members Joyce Wilkerson and Wayne Walker. Board members Julia Danzy , Mallory Fix Lopez, Angela McIver ,  Maria McColgan and Chris McGinley also attended. Minutes of the October 10 meeting were approved by voice vote.

First item on the Agenda: an update on construction at Benjamin Franklin High School that has necessitated the indefinite relocation of both Ben Franklin and SLA students. This brought a rare appearance by Dr. Hite, who is usually represented at Committee meetings by Chief of Staff Naomi Wyatt.

Huang opened by stating that the Board has been carefully monitoring the situation at Ben Franklin. He asked Hite to give more comprehensive report at the Action Meeting.  Rather than respond to Huang’s question, Hite asked Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson to give an update on classroom leveling. Monson gave a brief report and promised more details later in the meeting.

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Defenders of Public Education Speak Before the BOE, October 17, 2019

BOE

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

Patricia Brown on Toxic Schools

Karel Kliminik on the contract with KIPP

Barbara McDowdell Dowdall on Germatown Dreams

Laurie Mazer on Toxic Schools

Tasaday Messina on Toxic Schools

Ilene Poses on Toxic Schools

Lynda Rubin on Charter Renewal Votes

Ears on the Board of Education: September 19, 2019

By Diane Payne

Seven Mastery Charter Schools and KIPP West Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School were voted on for renewal.  Three of these schools were from the 2015/16 school year. All Charter School negotiations are conducted out of the public view.  Unspecified conditions were originally attached to the school’s renewal by the Charter School Office (CSO) but all conditions were dropped for the renewals on this agenda.  The public has no way of knowing what those conditions were or why those unknown conditions were dropped.

Many staff, parents, and administrators spoke on the toxic conditions found in many of our school buildings advocating for a systemic fix.

Present

President Joyce Wilkerson, Vice-president Wayne Walker, Julia Danzy, Mallory Fix Lopez, Lee Huang, Maria McColgan, Angela McIver, and Chris McGinley were present.  Board member Leticia Egea-Hinton was absent. Nine members of APPS were present; five members spoke in defense of public education and one member submitted written testimony.

Video of the entire Board meeting is posted on the District website and can be found by going to the District website, clicking on Board of Education, scrolling down to “watch previous Board meetings.”

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