Testimony of Karel Kilimnik to the Board of Education, October 18, 2018

Good evening everyone. I want to thank Dr Hite for starting the process for restoring the signage for the Dr Ruth Wright Hayre Educational Complex at Strawberry Mansion High School. It is a work in progress being handled with care.

This year three schools have been targeted for the newly renamed SGS Focus Schools program. We have attended meetings for the past two years as 17 schools were inserted into the SGS Priority School Program. The incompetent Cambridge Education drained $300,000 from the District to conduct deeply flawed School Quality Reviews. After much pressure their contract ended for this year’s cohort. However last year instead of using their own personnel this administration chose Temple to lead focus groups for parents and community members. They return again for this round. Having attended meetings at all 3 schools the consistent message from parents and community is the lack of  District support for their school. We are attending the focus group meetings for parents and community and are hearing a consistent message:

  • There is a high turnover of teachers resulting in significant numbers of substitutes.
  • Two out of the three schools have new principals.
  • There is an absence of programs for students as well as the scarcity of school staff to ensure safety.
  • The other consistent message is support for their teachers.

Temple has been hired to lead focus groups for parents and community members. The terms of their contract are unknown as they claim it is a Limited Contract Agreement under $20,000 and as such does not require an Action Item to be approved by the Board. We have found numerous examples of other contracts under that sum that were approved by the SRC. Is this a new policy of the Board? At the August and September Board meetings three contracts under $20,000 were approved (in August Action Item B7 approved a $20,000 contract. and B-11 $4,003, and in  September B-16 for $5,000). I would really like someone to answer this question of why there has been no Action Item for this contract with Temple.