Click the picture to view Lynda’s testimony. Go to timestamp 35:54.

Waning Days of the SRC

When the SRC was created, the first item on Gov. Ridge’s, and then Gov. Schweiker’s, agenda was to give away the District to Edison, Inc. We citizens fought back against turning over the District to the unsuccessful Edison, Inc. and except for a few schools that Edison eventually returned to us, we won.

During your 17 year tenure, however, the SRC’s mission seems to have been to outsource as much of the running of our public schools as possible to profit-making companies. The School District has become a shell corporation of outsourced companies providing disjointed services with far less oversight and continuity. The administrative building itself has been hollowed out of administrators and coordinators whose jobs were to oversee a cohesive operation so that K-12 students throughout the city could receive a commensurate education.

Personnel cuts made under the guise of fiscal accountability have actually been a transfer of money to outside private companies. Such decisions have consequences.

A recent example of the effect of such personnel cuts includes the Cambodian student who testified he’s missed scholarship and college opportunities because, despite numerous attempts, he couldn’t find someone here to help him get his transcripts. For sure he’s not alone.

When Isaac Gardner’s father emotionally complained not only about the treatment of his 8 year old son in school by a police officer, but that no administrator got back to him despite numerous promises to do so, you admitted the problem had been mishandled from the start. For that matter, staff cuts at the school level itself is why there was only a police officer available to intervene in a situation with an 8 year old child, something much better suited to school-based NTA’s or counselors to begin with.

Charter chain companies are top heavy with administrative costs and, thus, hire cheaper teachers with less training and experience who leave after a few years. This should be a red flag. Many companies have questionable cross-collateralization finances between their charter management boards and the schools’ boards that don’t stand up under scrutiny. This is taxpayer money we’re talking about. The more money that goes to charters certainly results in resources cut to neighborhood school children.

In recent weeks we’ve seen an organized and well publicized attack by charter schools against any oversight and regulation by the School District. They like the public money that comes with every student, make grandiose promises that they are the saviors of education and publicize it loudly, but always give you excuses when you question their deficient educational scores.

And why are charters demanding to meet privately with the SRC? After all, charter leaders and the District already met in secret meetings for six months. What deals do they want to cut? And you do realize that their hope is that the State will soon let them secede from the District altogether and deal directly with the State?

In the waning days of your tenure, I beg you to not to saddle the new board with the fait accompli of expensive outsourced contracts or the opening any more charter schools.

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