The infusion is an advance on state allocations to the district that it had been scheduled to get later in the year.
Eastern District Court Judge Michael M. Baylson also ordered the state Department of Education not to withhold further subsidies to the district without his approval. A hearing on the case is scheduled for Feb. 23.
The state has been sending Chester Upland district subsidies to charter schools that were educating district students. State officials said that was required by law; the district disagreed.
On Tuesday, Corbett defended his position that Chester Upland should not get money from the state.
"We can't continue to allow school districts to spend money they don't have, with the expectation that when they get through with that money, the state will send them more," he said, while attending a groundbreaking of the new Endo Pharmaceuticals headquarters in Malvern.
"There are other schools that are just behind Chester Upland in their economic problems. What is the incentive for them to do it right if you keep rewarding Chester Upland?"
Education Department spokesman Tim Eller said the department did not agree with Baylson's order, but would not appeal it. The department "still has serious reservations with the way the district continues to manage its finances," he said. "Hopefully, the district will change its ways."
Chester Upland students, parents, and teachers expressed mixed emotions when asked about the court order - happy that schools would stay open for now, but frustrated that there was still not enough for the district to finish the school year.
"I'm relieved, and I will be more relieved when I see my pay check," said Colleen Wellstein, a third-grade teacher. "But we're not finished; there is more to be done. And my concern is not just for this year; it's for next year, and into the future."
Said Sierra Baldwin, an 11th grader at Chester High: "I'm happy that it won't be closing and I won't have to go somewhere else, and unhappy that it isn't more."
Diana Allen, president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Columbus Elementary School and a longtime community activist, said the $3.2 million was "a drop in the bucket."
"This is not fair to the community," she said. "The teachers have got to be paid; the governor has to stop playing games with human lives. Our public schools need to be put where they need to be, and they're nowhere near that now."
The district figures it will be $20 million in debt by the end of the school year. It blames the problem on payments it makes to charter schools, cuts in state funding, and having to use this year's state subsidies to pay off last year's debts.
Last week, a bipartisan group of legislators requested a meeting with Gov. Corbett, asking him to declare the district financially distressed and send aid. No meeting has been set, Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Delaware/Montgomery) said Tuesday.
Eller said the district did not meet the state law's criteria for a distress declaration.
Contact staff writer Dan Hardy
at 215-854-2612, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or @DanInq on Twitter.