Transcript of Diane Payne’s testimony

Click the picture to view Diane’s testimony at 3:19.


The original idea of charter schools was to open doors to innovation that would in turn raise up the performance of struggling inner city schools.  Inner city schools that have historically been at the bottom of the political barrel. Schools that have always struggled for adequate resources in neighborhoods that are forsaken and forgotten by those who hold the cards.  But, not long after the advent of charter schools, the idea of innovating to help improve all schools went by the gravy train way side.  Instead, as it became a lucrative venture for folks to cash in on, charter schools sold themselves as the saving “choice.”  Now, after several decades, c.s. innovation is illusive and being the c.s. savior is just as illusive.  The recent PCCY report highlights a lack of C.S. success.

However, what is NOT arguable is the financial harm to our remaining public-school students.  So, kids that have been at the bottom of the barrel for forever now have the added harm of a cannibalistic system that starves some of the them to feed others.

So here are my points for requesting you vote to deny all seven applications:

  1. Examining applications on “merit only” as believed to be inherent in the c.s. law, has been refuted by David Lapp of the Ed Law Center, twice.
  2. Due to the overall lackluster performance of charters, applications should only be considered if they are truly stellar…none of these applications are stellar. Each has significant concerns spelled out by your own CSO.
  3. It is morally reprehensible to continue to harm one group of students for the benefit of other students.
  4. APPS has submitted testimony about serious concerns on each of these applications.Granting applications to charter chains with failing schools (like Mastery and Aspira) would be a shocking violation of your duty to safeguard all our schools and resources.
  5. Granting applications to schools that promote segregation and then tout success like Franklin Towne and MaST would be an abdication of your duty to all students.
  6. Failing to consider the bloated salaries of Charter CEO’s & top administrators is an abuse of tax payer money: Venditti the CEO of FTC receives $226,000 for two schools, Gordon the CEO of Mastery receives $261,154 for 14 schools, Calderone, the CEO of Aspira receives $200,000 and settled a sexual harassment law suit to the tune of $350,000.

It is your duty to be a good steward for all children. These applications should be denied.