Papenfuse wants School District bigwig gone, but won't get specific

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Apr 3, 2014 4:24 AM

(Harrisburg) -- A private dispute about the Chief Recovery Officer for the Harrisburg School District has spilled into public. 

School bus

At a press conference Thursday, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse got fiery, pushing  Chief Recovery Officer Gene Veno to resign.

The mayor has no control of the school district, but says Veno affects the city through his work.

"Our economic recovery, our plans, all of that will not work because we will not have educated the rising generation in this city, and I'm committed to that."

Papenfuse says Veno told him he doesn't believe in the district's recovery plan, which Veno denies.

"He is not one that takes criticism well, and I have been disturbed in our one on one conversations about his willingness to give up, and to say certain things in public about the plan, and other things in private," says Papenfuse.

But when pressed what exact academic steps the Mayor wants Veno to take, Papenfuse did not offer an answer.

Instead, he would only say the district needs someone experienced in urban education reform.

Veno points to his financial accomplishments, including balancing the budget for the 2014 - 2015 school year.

State acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq is the only person with the power to remove Veno.

As to questions about why the Mayor is getting involved in the issue when the city has other problems he can control, he says it's important to ensure a successful future for Harrisburg.

The Mayor also says the state Attorney General's office is investigating the Harrisburg School District. The Attorney General's office could not be immediately reached.

Published in Harrisburg, News

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