Good evening to all assembled to witness this momentous occasion. I testified 16 years ago at the very first SRC meeting where chair Nevels presided alone as the other 4 commissioners had yet to be appointed. I watched as he gave tens of thousands of dollars to outside counsel and p.r. firms. This spending has only escalated over the years. For five years APPS has witnessed and documented the policies and investments of the unaccountable SRC. We joined the OCOS campaign to terminate the SRC. Activists, advocates, organizers, and district stakeholders have called, canvassed, bird dogged, and written to pressure Mayor Kenney into doing the right thing. He is to be commended for taking action. This dismantling of the state appointed apparatus is one step on the path to an elected school board. It is truly a victory to celebrate.
I have participated in the Priority Schools meetings and heard parents, teachers, and students describe the needs of their respective schools. Common themes are understaffing, large class sizes, inappropriate curriculum, over testing, and deteriorating buildings. Parents readily express support for their teachers and do not want to see them forced out of their schools. The entire process determining the fate of six under resourced schools was crammed into six weeks.
Last night at the Wagner meeting we learned that there are seven staff vacancies. What they need is full staffing not an eduvendor selling professional development , coaching, or a curriculum. The District clearly knows that what a struggling school needs is adequate staffing. Witness what happened at Kenderton after a group of committed, determined parents raised their concerns at the SRC and with Dr Hite. They are now fully staffed with class size capped at 20 in the lower grades in addition to the following staff -2 counselors, 4 classroom assistants, 6 climate staff, and a student support assistant.
My question for tonight is Dr Hite when are you visiting each of the 6 Priority Schools you have targeted for transformation to speak with parents, students, and teachers before you announce your decision on their fates? We have been told repeatedly that there is no appeals process in place once your decision is made.