Transcript of the testimony of Diane Payne at SRC April 26, 2018

Click on the picture above and go to timestamp 25:05 to video of Diane’s testimony.

Diane Payne

I am speaking today about how you vote on the resolutions before you. You must cast votes that keep the district functioning and stable through this transition period.  But you should NOT cast votes that will saddle the district with contracts that may or may not mesh with the philosophy and priorities of the incoming school board…particularly contracts that are not essential and even worse, contracts that will cause financial harm to existing public-school students.   Resolution SRC-4, the resubmission of the Franklin Towne Charter Middle School application should be soundly voted down.  Here is my list of reasons why:

  1. You are conducting business with four commissioners and not the required five.
  2. Two commissioners have just been appointed so the SRC can limp to June 30th. Although both Marge Neff and Fran Burns are not strangers to the district, they have not been here through the application process nor been present at the previous meetings to hear district and public testimony about this application, so they cannot possibly be up-to-speed.
  3. Approving ANY charter school will be done so at the harm of the remaining district students.CFO Monson has already testified to this fact.  Attorney David Lapp has also testified on the legal leg that should be used to protect students.  Do no harm.
  4. FTC tout’s academic success for its two existing schools. What is not mentioned is that the elementary school is 83% white, the high school is 75% white, and there is virtually no ELL population.  So, somehow the system is being gamed.
  5. The CEO of Franklin Towne, Joseph Venditti, reaps a salary of $233,000 for TWO schools.He is an attorney and not an educator.
  6. The school was embroiled in a whistle-blower law suit as recent as 2016 for wrongful discharge and retaliation among other claims.
  7. In response to last night’s Notebook article written by Greg Windle, colleague, Coleman Poses said, “Imagine if all the schools in Philadelphia (public and charter) had the type of debt ($30 million) that Franklin Towne has incurred.  That would amount to about $4.5 billion, almost as much as the entire State budget.  What Greg has exposed is a Ponzi scheme, where the new revenues from the middle school would pay off the debt of the other two schools; which would work for a while until the middle school started to become insolvent, and then Franklin Towne would need to build, perhaps a K-5 school.”
  8. These shady, opaque, self-serving, and circular real estate and management company deals exposed by Greg Windle would need way more than three minutes to address. Franklin Towne should be considered for possible criminal investigation; not considered for a new school.  You absolutely cannot in good conscious approve this application.

Arguments to support abandoning the “fake” training programs on which the district currently invests.  Resolutions A-2 and A-3!

Diane Payne

Also see:
SRC approves Franklin Towne’s third charter school and votes to close Eastern University Academy Charter | The Philadelphia Public School Notebook – April 26, 2018

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