Transcript of the testimony of Karel Kilimnik before the SRC June 21, 2018

Karel Kilimnik SRC 6-21-18

Click on the picture of Karel Kilimnik and go to timestamp 1:05:49 to view her testimony.

Tale of Two Cities/Two Districts

Charles Dickens Tale of Two Cities totally applies to the conditions created in this district by the Broad-trained superintendent and his bosses, SRC commissioners. Before us lies a district divided into the haves and have not’s thanks to the massive school closures resulting in displacement of students, hollowing out of professionals at 440 along with the outsourcing of services including professional development and substitute staffing. Our district has been squeezed into the unforgiving corset of privatization gifting some schools with all that they need while starving others.

Back to the Tale of Two Districts. In 2016 plans were being made for SLA to find a new location as their lease would expire in 2018 and they were concerned that the SRC “might put us in a place that is less than ideal for our teaching and learning needs.”So then COOFran Burns arranged for 3 SRC commissioners to attend a meeting with the SLA community as part of the planning process. Commissioner Green started off  that meeting by saying “I wanted to give you some background on why the SRC asked to come out here tonight and hear from the community” as he and Farah Jimenez and Sylvia Simms spent 2 hours listening to their concerns.  What a rare moment for SRC commissioners to be present to actually listen to the concerns of a school community before making a decision!

Let us travel two years later to Strawberry Mansion High School, a school that has been stripped of resources, is presently staggering with more substitute teachers than regularly appointed and certified educators, and was given an inexperienced principal. In March the District held a “community meeting” with almost no notification. Asst superintendent Becoats announced District plans to close the high school by eliminating 9thgrade enrollment for the next school year. He was asked if this plan was in the planning or implementation stage. Implementation he stated unequivocally.  Two districts, two forms of management. One nothing about you without you and the other everything about you without you.

In a nutshell this is the legacy of the SRC – approving changes sought by this Broad trained superintendent to create a district where magnet schools thrive with a few neighborhood schools but schools in Black & Brown low income neighborhoods are stripped of resources resulting in closures such as the one being attempted at Mansion where A19 states that “Strawberry Mansion High School will be “truncating from grades 9-12 to grades 10-12”. Simultaneously another grade reconfiguration is at Vaux, a contract school run by Big Picture, where they will expand and add 10thgrade. Those potential Mansion freshmen can now be recruited byVaux Big Picture.

New Board members please do it the SLA way and listen to every school community.