Testimony of Karel Kilimnik to the BOE, January 30, 2020

Good evening everyone. I want to acknowledge and support the District and Board joining superintendents and other school district leaders calling for a state moratorium on new charter schools and charter seats. Thus far the Board has denied new charter applications and I urge you to do the same for the two applications to be considered next month.

The next positive note is Item 47 providing an authentic health career related experience for high school students by the 1199C Training Fund a 45 year old labor management partnership of the National Union of Hospital and Health care employees. They are not seeking to drain resources from a cash strapped school district in order to start a charter school but actually applying their known skills to better the lives of students from 11 district high schools.

Both String Theory’s Joan Myers Brown and the High School of Health Science Leaders(HS2L) charter applications lack community support. The Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) visited Kensington Health Sciences Academy  and incorporated that experience in the charter school application. They did a similar thing to the 1199C Hospital Workers Union Training & Upgrading Fund as noted by a 1199C staff member in their letter to PSP that was also sent to the Board. I am quoting with permission:

“It was with dismay that I read that the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund was referenced in the PSP’s application to the Phila BOE to establish the High School of Health Sciences Leadership Charter School. Including the Training Fund identifies our organization as actively engaging in providing feedback on establishing a healthcare charter school in Phila. This is not truthful.”

1199C also requested the removal of the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund references from PSP’s application to establish the High School of Health Sciences Leadership Charter School as well as any other applications, grants, or similar writings without the expressed consent of the Fund.

Instead of spending money on charters our school buildings need to be made healthy as the ongoing toxic school debacle continues to unfold.  This is the time for parents, students, school staff,community members, and elected officials to hold the District leadership accountable for how this problem has been addressed and to demand that our voices are heard and not silenced. Will the District and the Board commit to holding a public meeting on Toxic Schools to update all of us as well as hear concerns and recommendations?