Peg Devine – School Reform Commission Testimony – September 17, 2015

Peg Devine

With the start of each new school year teachers let their students know their expectations of respectful participation in their classrooms. They lay down a set of positive rules for the students to follow. I believe this SRC should heed some of the respectful behavior that is expected of our students.

I have noted that when speakers appear before you the majority of you barely glance at the speakers’ table. I am not sure if this is intentionally disrespectful on your part or if you are just ashamed of the position that you hold. You are charged with being present at these meetings to hear what the speakers have to say. You behave like the students in class who are not disruptive but completely disengaged in the lesson being presented.

You do not answer questions that are presented and occasionally when pressured you respond that you will look into it or you will answer the question later. Yet you lay out clear expectations for speakers: a 3-minute time limit and 7 copies are required of what is being said. I can only presume that gives you an excuse to look away from the speaker while you feign interest in the paper in front of you. You could all use some lessons in proper behavior from our teachers.

Dr. Hite, we the public, are on to your double speak. Your claim of optimism for this school year is laughable. You say you want a fair contract for teachers, yet negotiations have not resumed. This past summer you arbitrarily created a hiring freeze for certified school nurses knowing there were at least a dozen unfilled positions. A week before school opened the freeze was lifted and now students are at increased risk because of lack of nurse coverage. The state mandate of 1500 students to one nurse is being violated throughout the city. You seem to think you are above the law. Our students deserve better. Our diabetic students’ lives depend on it.

Since the SRC was created, the amount of financial mismanagement has skyrocketed and now we are facing more chaos due your action of granting   a 34 million dollar contract to Source4teachers. I would love to know what penalty will be imposed for not providing the substitutes. Now our teachers are being further burdened by being forced to cover classes when they should be utilizing their preparation periods for their own students.

SRC members, you are not stupid people; the only conclusion I can draw is this…you are fully aware of your behavior and the calamitous conditions you are creating. Your blatant inability to manage the finances of the district and your disrespect for students, staff and parents is duly noted. Tonight I want it on record again…I respectfully request that you vote to dissolve the SRC. Peg Devine RN BSN CSN MA