Testimony of Diane Payne to the BOE, June 27, 2019

I am acutely aware that I am an older, okay old, white woman who keeps bringing up the money grab and game manipulation of mostly old white men which affects the resources of mostly brown and black children. But I am here today to do that again. I am asking you to vote NO on the charter amendment within MaST II’s renewal asking for an enrollment increase of 650 students. Openly stated in the CSO recommendation for this increase is “the CSO anticipates the enrollment increase to positively impact the Charter School’s ability to borrow money for construction.” So, the bottom line is that Philadelphia school children are the bargaining chip for construction costs in what really appears to be a Ponzi type arrangement. The bottom has to keep getting filled in to support the top.
Let’s look at how this group of white men are manipulating the system. Achievement scores across the MaST campuses are in reinforce with the exception of the H.S. which is in Watch. But, here’s some important demographic information:

The 2 campuses poverty percentages are 26% & 43% while the District hovers at 74%. Their African/American population is 8% & 24% while the District hovers at 50%. MaST’s White population is 68% & 41% while the District hovers at 14%. As parent Stephanie King pointed out in testimony to you in clearly defined terms regarding her Northern Liberties neighborhood, the District is engaging in willful segregation. And, as one Board member acknowledged that day, this is an area of concern to the Board.

Charles Swoyer III, the CEO of MaST pulls in an income of $335,147 for one school. Santilli and Thompson, more old white men are the business managers of this and countless other charter schools collecting hefty fees. While kids at schools like Gideon, Sheridan, Harding, and more struggle for resources, safety, and non-toxic buildings. None of MaST’s campuses are or will be as Dr. Hite likes to say a “great school close to where children live” because each campus is in a remote location with no neighborhood around. But, each campus will have state of the art facilities to provide that private school like vibe to their select group of students.

Approving an enrollment increase in this Ponzi like scheme is a vote for growing the District’s willful segregation of students at the continued harm to District students.
It was mentioned in the Student Achievement Committee meeting that MaST dropped its MCSO application and applied for an enrollment increase. Was this a negotiated deal between MaST and the CSO? If you can’t answer this today when and how can I expect a clear answer to this question?

MaST Charter School Information
Plans for the new MaST Charter School approved https://northeasttimes.com/2016/03/09/plans-for-the-new-mast-charter-school-approved/