Transcript of Karel Kilimnik’s testimony before the SRC.

Click the picture to view the video of Karel’s testimony. It is located at timestamp 16:05.

This administration has deviated from the idea that every school should have adequate staff including a certified teacher-librarian in a library. The district budget should automatically include this. Principals should not have to figure out to pay. The Broad-trained Dr Hite values competition- the hunger games version of education where every school has to compete for what it needs. Yes, there have been severe funding problems but the way in which our limited funds are spent reflect a growing divide of schools into the haves and the have nots. Hollowing out of support available from 440 sends principals scrambling for ways to help their school survive. Veteran educators at 440 with lifelong commitments to public education in Philadelphia have been replaced with inexperienced staff from all over the country who stay briefly and then move up their career ladder. We are not a rung on someone’s aspiration march.

We need to pay attention to how the Hite administration ,with the blessing of the SRC, has chosen to spend limited dollars. Tonight Resolution A-15 sends half a million dollars into the pockets of an advertising firm for a teacher recruitment campaign. Almost two million has already been pocketed by The New Teacher Project for Teacher Retention and Coaching. TNTP is an advocacy group founded by corporate ed reformer Michelle Rhee that uses inadequate research methods. Where is your data showing the impact or is this half a million contract the result of TNTP’s failure?

The new wave of 9 charter school applications is another expense we do not need. According to CFO Uri Monson charters are the most expensive budget item. We cannot afford another charter school. They siphon money from public schools. The only choice involved is on the part of the charter school. They chose their students and then they chose to keep them or send them away. At the initial hearing I attended it was clear that charter operators from across the country see Phila as a potential source of income for their enterprises. Aspira seeks to expand its two stand alone charter schools despite years of financial entanglements, academic failure, and paying $350,000 to settle a sexual harassment suit. Their two Renaissance charters have been recommended for non-renewal so why give them more students? As to the Renaissance charter program it appears to have been halted so Mastery is applying for a stand alone charter. Three of their schools have refused to sign conditions as part of the renewal process. Conditions simply follow the Charter School Law. Where is that precious data so revered by this administration that shows how Renaissance Charter Schools are doing?

Money should be going directly into classrooms and not into the pockets of vendors. Why are Priority Schools Wagner and Harding still suffering from large teacher vacancies? You want to save money then cease paying millions to outside legal counsel, stop funding professional development vendors, end the flow of cash into the pockets of Catapult and Camelot for our special needs students.