Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: York and Harrisburg recovery officers

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 29, 2013 8:50 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Tuesday, January 29:


Many of Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts are experiencing money problems.  Even the districts with more resources are contemplating how they will deal with pension obligations for retired teachers that will be coming due soon.

That's just one issue. 

A shrinking tax base, limits on tax increases, few options to generate revenue, and cuts in state funding often contribute to the challenges as well.

A few school districts have been hit harder than others and have had to take drastic measures such as laying off teachers or closing schools.

Under legislation approved by the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Corbett last summer, four districts have been designated by the state as fiscally distressed.  Two of them are in Central Pennsylvania.

As a result, recovery officers have been appointed in the Harrisburg and York city school districts.  They will develop and implement recovery plans for the districts.  If the local school boards fail to adopt those plans, the state could take over operations.

Joining us on Tuesday's Radio Smart Talk will be Harrisburg's Chief Recovery Officer Gene Veno and York's CRO David Meckley.

Listen to the program:


York schools' chief recovery officer, David Meckley, witf's Scott LaMar, and Gene Veno, chief recovery officer for Harrisburg schools meet for Radio Smart Talk.


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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-29 09:37

    E-mail from Scott:

    "What advice would you have for someone considering a position on their local school board?"

  • Robert D Colgan img 2013-01-29 11:16

    I thought this was an excellent show. Both men manifested a real concern for the primacy of consideration of the well-being of the community children----that "success" without the inclusion of the final product outcome of adjusted functioning graduates is not calculable.

    What I would really also like to see/hear is the necessity of re-empowering the teachers to teach as they know best. The dyadic dance between instructor and student isn't solely a cerebral one....the bond must exist at many levels if it is to be effective.

    A teacher who doesn't care about the students or doesn't even like children may be effective at data dissemination----but loses the depth of alliance in the learning process that is also an emotional tie.

    I'd love to see America move as far away as possible from the standardized bs testing (NCLB=dysfunctional) and move toward allowing children to explore the world with their wonderful curiosity. The teachers who know their students know how to nurture that curiosity---the ones who don't know their students or don't care about them end up extinguishing that curiosity.
    And from that all society loses. All of us.

    Get rid of privatization of public schools and re-empower the on-the-ground in-the-trenches on-the-floor in-the-dance people who know best how to teach : the teachers.
    Thanks for the show, and good luck to David and Gene.