York City School District fends off privatization plan for now

Written by Emily Previti/Keystone Crossroads | Nov 20, 2014 4:22 AM

Photo by Emily Previti/Keystone Crossroads

(York) -- Governor-elect Wolf has said he’s against privatizing the city of York’s struggling public school district, and critics of the effort say there’s pressure to do that before he takes office.

If it happens, York City School District would be the first public school system in Pennsylvania, and one of just a few in the nation, to be converted entirely to charter schools.

Students, parents and teachers spent more than two hours last night protesting [the turnover of the city’s floundering public school district to a private for-profit charter school operator.

Vlonda Kearse was one of them.

“If it is for a public service, for the interests of the children, why does money need to be made off their education?” she said.

School board members delayed a vote on a contract with Charter Schools USA to allow time to get more information about the company’s plans.

But, they can do little more than stall, because they’re engaged in the state’s Act 141 program for distressed, under-performing public schools.

That law allows a receivership if district officials aren’t complying with their recovery plan.

York’s state-appointed Chief Recovery Officer David Meckley says that’s the scenario there, and that he’ll push for a receivership and then charterize the schools.

The school board attempted to address that by passing a new teachers’ union contract yesterday.

But Meckley says the latest proposal doesn’t cut it.

"The collective bargaining agreement as I understand it does not provide enough manpower. So it’s not a viable internal plan,” he says.

Meckley says he’ll decide in a few days whether whether he’ll petition the courts for a receivership.

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