Last week, a judge handed the schools of York City, Pennsylvania, to a receiver, David Meckley, a businessman, to do with as he pleases. He has said he will turn the district over to a for-profit charter chain, Charter Schools, USA. There is still a glimmer of hope, as the school board is appealing the decision. 


The local newspaper published a terrific editorial. It asks questions that the judge never considered: What are the for-profit corporations plans for the children with special needs? How can anyone justify diverting money to “profit,” when the district is in dire financial need? Does the for-profit corporation actually have a plan for improvement? My questions: why isn’t the state responsible to assist districts whose property tax base cannot support public schools? How many more districts will be handed over to entrepreneurs? What is the purpose of public education? Does the voice of the community matter? Whatever happened to democracy?


This is what the local newspaper said:


Meckley, a Spring Garden Township businessman who has led the district’s financial recovery process for two years now, intends to convert all eight schools to charters operated by a for-profit company, Charter Schools USA.

Such a conversion has never been tried in Pennsylvania, and the company’s plan for York City appears half-baked.

For instance, in response to questions submitted by The York Dispatch, a company representative showed limited knowledge of the district’s student population and couldn’t even describe plans for the 21 percent of students with special needs.

The community clearly opposes the plan. Yet while they have no say in the matter, city property owners’ tax dollars now will be used not only for education but to boost the profits of Charter Schools USA.

Since the district is struggling financially, how can anyone justify diverting even a penny away from the students?

Unfortunately, Linebaugh, York County’s president judge, was not allowed to consider these or any other aspects of the charter conversions.