Testimony of Lisa Haver to the BOE, July 30, 2020

Yesterday, APPS members sent a letter to the Board asking that all members of the Board be visible during the entirety of all Board meetings.
At a time when the community cannot gather physically as one unified body, we overcame those challenges to present a unified message:  that the health and safety of the District’s students come first. 
Thank you to Dr. Hite and his staff for hearing that message and formulating a new reopening plan. Thank you to the Board for allowing ten speakers this evening. 
But the Board should not be taking advantage of the fact that the parents, educators, students, and principals cannot gather physically. The Board owes the public an explanation of what they were doing behind the digital wall for over 7 hours. There were a number of indications that the Board was violating the PA Sunshine Act and conducting business out of the view of the public. Several Board members alluded to the time limit that had been set on their own remarks, to which they agreed, or which was imposed on them by the President, prior to the meeting. That raises issues about the independence of the Board members, but the issue here is that it was not discussed during the meeting. 
President Wilkerson announced that general speakers would come immediately after the speakers on action items. Were Board members asked to approve that move or told about it behind the screen? 
President Wilkerson was heard on an open mic asking someone whether the Board should recess the meeting. To whom was she speaking?  And why was Dr. Hite asked later whether the Board should vote on the other Action Items. 
When a motion was introduced from the floor, there was no opportunity for the public to be heard on it before the vote. 
These actions are not minor technical matters. They indicate a disregard for the public’s right to know, even when dealing with a life-and-death issue. 
There may be legitimate explanations for all of these actions. If so, the Board should take some time, at its 2nd session of one Action Meeting, to give a full explanation. The public deserves no less.