Testimony of Karel Kilimnik to the BOE, August 20, 2020

Good evening. These are not normal times and to ignore this is to endanger everyone. Dr Hite presented an unrealistic plan for a hybrid reopening. Over 100 people spoke against it and he was forced to change the plan. This administration refuses to include stakeholders in decision making. The Inspector General’s report reveals the sheer incompetence of the District to deal with the mammoth renovation of Ben Franklin. District administrators put students and staff in a toxic situation. Despite questions and requests from parents, teachers, and administrators for a backup plan, none were made. How can this board in good conscience not demand the resignation of Dr Hite after such a botched job? After he put the lives of both students and staff at risk. How can he be trusted to make appropriate decisions for the health and welfare of students and school staff in this District after demonstrating a remarkable lack of concern. 

The incompetence of this administration should immediately call for stopping the Comprehensive School Planning Review, an attempt to  decide on changes in enrollment, catchment area borders, co-locations, and closing of neighborhood schools. Their shift to the Superintendent’s Office is a red flag. We already know that both Dr Hite and Mayor Kenney want to close schools. Covid-19 provides the perfect cover for doing so behind hermetically sealed doors.

The West Coast based FLO Analytics received over $1 million for CSPR data collection. At Study Group meetings participants repeatedly  pointed out the flaws in their data. Their report was due in July but so far nothing has been posted. Whatever they have collected will be incorrect due to evictions and growing numbers of unemployed workers. This is not the time to reconfigure or realign catchment areas or close schools. The District should embark on a path that includes stakeholders in decision making not simply as an audience to hear what has already been planned.