State seeks Chester-Upland receiver

Posted: December 04, 2012

The Pennsylvania education secretary is asking Delaware County Court to name the Chester-Upland School District's state-appointed chief recovery officer as receiver of the struggling district.

Today's request by Education Secretary Ronald J. Tomalis comes a week after the board rejected the financial and academic recovery plan proposed by recovery officer Joseph Watkins.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the Chester Upland School District and and to serve the Secretary of Education," Watkins said in a statement. "I have every hope that, working with the people in the community, we can make the Chester Upland School District a great school district."

By law, the receiver would oversee implementation of the plan.

The school board, which rejected the plan in a 5-4 vote last week, will continue to exist, but its only powers would be to levy and raise taxes.

Spokesmen for the board majority that turned down the plan have vowed to fight having a receiver appointed and they have said they will continue to try to get changes to the plan.

Watkins' plan calls for increasing student performance, luring back students who have left the district's schools and raising private funding to beef up programs.

However, it also calls for raising taxes, laying off staff, closing school buildings and increasing class sizes.

A hearing on the receiver petition has been scheduled before Judge Chad F. Kenney for Friday at 9 a.m.

Contact staff writer Rita Giordano at 610-627-2649, or on Twitter @ritagiordano.

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