Last Friday, a judge cleared the way to put the York City schools into receivership, meaning under state control. The Pennsylvania Department of Education previously announced its intention to hand over the entire school district to the for-profit charter chain Charter Schools of America.
Be it noted that today’s education “reformers” don’t much care for democracy. They would rather turn public schools over to a for-profit corporation that siphons off 20% in management fees and pays itself outlandish rental fees rather than trust parents and local citizens to do what’s best for their children.
Choice? There will be no “choice” for the families of York City. Their children will have to attend a charter school whose headquarters are in Florida. Yes, it is the death of local control and democracy in York City.
The news story says:
“State officials have said they would, if approved for a receivership, bring in Charter Schools USA to operate the district.
“So this means York likely will be the first city in the Commonwealth – and only one in the nation – where public education is provided exclusively by a private company.
The Pennsylvania State Education Association plans to appeal, according to a statement released by the statewide teachers union immediately after the ruling Friday morning.
“York’s citizens don’t want this, the elected school board doesn’t want this, and parents and educators don’t want this,” said PSEA President Michael Crossey.
“Citing the district’s financial problems, PDE declared York schools in recovery status and appointed David Meckley chief recovery officer, or CRO, in late 2012.
“State law triggers a receivership petition if officials in a recovery school district act against the wishes of the CRO or in violation of their approved recovery plan, which is supposed to be collaboratively developed.
“In this case, one action was the board’s refusal to vote on a charter school operator contract until the company provided more information.
“The other was its vote on a teachers and staff union contract that didn’t cut as much as set out in the recovery plan.”
This is what we would expect from the outgoing Corbett administration, which actively promoted privatization.
What will the new Tom Wolf administration do?
Here are some thoughts from Mark Miller, a local school board member in Pennsylvania and an officer of the Pennsylvania School Boards Assiciation:
“PSBA was disqualified as a party of interest in the case despite the fact we are a state chartered agency with a membership of 4,500 elected officials sworn to uphold the constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which guarantees a free and appropriate public education to all children. On that count alone, how can the court force any child to attend a charter school?
“Linebaugh also disqualified NAACP, PASA and twenty-two parents of children with special needs who combined their money to retain special education counsel. Commonwealth Court upheld the ruling on NAACP, PSBA, PASA and parents did not appeal as we were saving our war chest for this new fight.
“There was never any question in my mind that Linebaugh was going to hand the district over to privateers. Governor Elect Wolf is a resident of York County and a political ally of the Receiver (David Meckley). While he did ask for the courts to leave this matter wait until his term of office begins, he has been absolutely silent on his position in this matter.
“Wolf’s wife Frances resigned from the Board of York Academy Charter School two months before he declared for office. some observers think that CSUSA will sub-contract to York Academy and CSMI (Charter School Management Inc is Vahan Gureghian’s company) as CSUSA does not have the resources at hand to run these schools.
“York Academy and CSMI have been silent and CSUSA non committal http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_27186647/charter-schools-usa-mum-york-city-schools-special (Although Vahan Guerghian is building a $28MM mansion within a 45 minute drive to CSUSA headquarters in Florida.
“Obviously, we are going to file an appeal of the ruling handed down today.”