Testimony of Ilene Poses to the Board Of Education, April 25, 2016

Early this year the Board voted to deny 3 new charter applications. Thank you. However there is another insidious way that charters are expanding. Established charters are requesting enrollment increases and relocation despite the fact that several of these requests come from schools that have refused to sign renewal agreements! The conditions apparently are not to the charters’ liking. Yet these same schools are expanding into new neighborhoods much as Ad Prima went from the neighborhood of Frankford into the Mt. Airy neighborhood last year with no community engagement.

The Board created a District Partnership & Community  Engagement Committee along with a Parent & Community Advisory Council, why aren’t these issues discussed with the community? How can these expansions be approved with no input from the community? Where is your commitment to the neighborhoods? How can schools be rewarded with expansion amendments without fulfilling the necessary conditions approved by the Board? Think also about the increasing transportation costs these expansions cause. It is evident from the Aspira hearings that have gone on for weeks that it is expensive and not easy to close these charters down. So, why are these charters permitted to expand?

(Sing to “My Darlin’ Clementine”)

Olney Charter
Memphis Charter, Architecture & Design
Are a few of the failing charters
And they’re paid on the public’s dime.

If some charters are substandard
Then it’s time to pull the cord
Not just plead and ask permission
This our city cannot afford.

We should recti-fy the process
to renew our charter schools
So the public can review it
And please follow Sunshine rules.

and Stetson Charter
Linger on and on in time
They’re a few of our failing charters
And they’re paid with the public’s dime.