Testimony of Diane Payne to the BOE, September 17, 2020

Item 9 is an amendment of a contract originally set at $1,800,000 to Renaissance Learning, Inc. It is being amended to provide P.D. to administrators for an additional $100,000. This feels a lot like the perpetual monthly “change orders” like this month’s A.I. 18 which is presented with its usual lack of context and allows a monthly forking over of huge amounts of additional dollars. In the case of Action Item 18, it is $615,625. In the case of Action Item 9 it is $100,000. It would be nice if Board members followed through with their stated intent to increase in-house P.D. and reduce outsourced P.D. What that might look like would be the Board voting NO on this Action Item with the guidance to Dr. Hite to locate district staff who are experts in this program (we all know they are there) and pay District staff to provide the needed P.D. to administrators to insure they are up to speed on the program.

Instead of looking to develop and build-up in-house expertise, we find the Hite administration once again throwing another $100,000 at a firm owned by Hellman & Friedman, a private equity firm with assets totaling $25 BILLION dollars.

The recent, scathing, OIG report bluntly stated the very real need for the District to stop relying on outsourcing and develop their in-house expertise. Yet once again the Hite administration is not.

I notice that in Action Item 27 there is no mention that this item was on the agenda last month and failed to pass. It appears that the Mayor was not satisfied with last month’s outcome and has lined up the reinforcements to push it through again. The well-researched and thought out testimony of regular stakeholders will no doubt be drowned out by the monied interests behind this project. If it doesn’t work out the way they promise…oh well…it will be years later and everyone will forget. Vote No on Item 27.

There are not enough words to express the destructive effects of leveling. Leveling is simply a money saving practice. That is why it is addressed in the finance and facilities committee and not the student achievement committee. Recognize this practice for the harm it causes and commit to ending it – Black Lives don’t matter in leveling.

I am appalled at how cavalierly school closures were brought up tonight. School closures equal disaster capitalism. ​