We've moved! Come join us at Watchdog Arena, where you'll continue to find the same quality articles that expose waste, fraud and abuse as well as examine policy issues at all levels of government.

Please visit our new home and follow us on social media: Facebook & Twitter

Get Involved!

Sign up as a Citizen Journalist and get involved in Information Activism.

Sign Up for Watchdog Updates!

PA: York County’s failing city schools could soon be converted to charter schools

Pennsylvania’s state government wants to take over one district’s failing schools and turn them over to the for-profit company Charter Schools USA. But first, a judge must rule in the state’s favor.

Court proceedings began Monday and resumed Tuesday morning. York County Judge Stephen Linebaugh is hearing arguments for and against putting the York City School District into receivership. If that happens, the state-appointed chief recovery officer David Meckley plans to turn the district’s eight schools into charters.

As the district’s receiver, he would have full authority over the district, except for tax rates, reports PennLive.com. The district is plagued with financial problems and low student achievement.

The court’s ruling is expected within ten days, in accordance with state law.

“The law is clear on the timeline for the court to rule on the specific issue, and the state Department (of Education) is pleased the judge is working to adhere to that,” department spokesman Tim Eller told PennLive.

Groups in the district, including the teachers’ union, have come out against the charter school plan. Some students are also opposed and skipped school on Monday to protest.

“We want our voice heard,” student Nicole Harman told the York Dispatch.

If the plan is implemented, the district would be just the second district in the country to offer only charter schools. The first was New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Charter school companies have an added incentive to turn around struggling schools due to profit-based incentives not found in publicly-run schools.

Incoming Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who happens to be from York County, is opposed to the state’s plan. That means the clock is ticking.

“Clearly [Gov. Tom Corbett’s] administration wants to put the district into receivership so they can sign the contracts before the new administration comes in,” Michael Churchill, a lawyer at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, told AlJazeera America. “That could lock them in for 15 years.”

Last week the court denied the district’s request for a stay, which would have delayed the case until Gov.-elect Wolf took office.

The state says it is pursuing receivership because the district is failing to follow the recovery plan its school board approved in 2013. The district  ranked 491st out of 496 public school districts in Pennsylvania, according to a ranking by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Featured image: William Penn Senior High School

Josh Kaib

Josh Kaib is the Assistant Editor of Watchdog Wire. Twitter: @joshkaib

More Posts

Categories: Budget and Finance, Education, Must Read, News
Tags: , ,

RELATED ARTICLES

  1. PA: York County’s failing city schools could soon be converted to charter schools
  2. PA: Record Spending Impact Trumped by Broken Education Funding Formula
  3. PA State Rep. Jockeying for Leadership Has Same Donors as Governor-elect Wolf
  4. PA Teachers used as Pawns to Finance Union-Backed Political Candidates
  5. Opinion: Don’t Play Politics with PA Pension Reform

COMMENTS

comments powered by Disqus
Login