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Chester Upland School District

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NEWS
June 7, 2013 | By Angela Couloumbis and Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writers
The Chester Upland School District is in "disarray," with "ineffective" governance and financial oversight preventing it from meeting its mission of educating students, according to a state audit. "Those students may never recover from the loss of an effective education, and in the long run, the district's failure could ultimately prevent them from realizing their true potential," Auditor General Eugene DePasquale's report said. The review covered the period from May 4, 2010, through Feb. 26, 2013, during which the 4,505-student district was identified as among the lowest-achieving in the state.
NEWS
February 25, 2000 | By Dan Hardy, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Citing technical shortcomings and financial hardship, the Chester Upland School District has denied the application of a proposed charter school that wanted to start with 200 elementary school students this fall and build up to 1,500 after five years. The 3-0 vote against the proposal of the Learning Connection Charter School took place at a Board of Control meeting last night. The board has run the Chester Upland School District since it was declared financially distressed in 1994.
NEWS
February 20, 1995 | By Reid Kanaley, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
An effort by residents of Upland Borough to secede from the troubled Chester Upland School District and merge with neighboring Penn-Delco schools has been rejected by the state's acting secretary of education. Such a transfer would have no "significant benefit to the children directly involved," the acting secretary, Jane Carroll, said in a letter last week to Delaware County Judge Joseph T. Labrum Jr. Labrum has oversight of a petition filed last April by the Concerned Citizens for the Education of Upland's Children, the group asking for the transfer of control of the Main Street Elementary School in Upland.
NEWS
March 4, 1998 | By Mary Anne Janco, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Two Chester leaders urged Delaware County Council yesterday to intervene in the turmoil permeating the Chester Upland School District, saying two politically connected members of its Board of Control were hampering any progress in the district. "We are facing a crisis in our schools," the Rev. Horace Strand of the community group Citizens United to Save Our District told the council. In particular, he blamed Board of Control members Donald F. Tonge and William J. Jones. They recently blocked the appointment of well-known Chester lawyer Monica J. Washington to the key post of district personnel director.
NEWS
September 10, 1992 | By Gloria A. Hoffner and Mark Fazlollah, FOR THE INQUIRER
A top Chester-Upland School District administrator has taken an indefinite leave of absence just days before school starts - the fourth administrator to leave the embattled district in six weeks, school officials said yesterday. Harold M. Swiggett, who served as assistant to the superintendent, gave notice Friday that he was taking an indefinite leave, and was off the job Tuesday. "That leaves the school board and the superintendent of schools" as the only administrative structure remaining in the district, said Stephen Wesley, the former Chester-Upland assistant superintendent who quit July 31. For more than a year, Chester-Upland Superintendent Anthony Iacono has been the target of parent protests about his administration of the district, which consistently has scored at the bottom of the state's academic ranking.
NEWS
December 6, 1996 | By Connie Langland and Dan Hardy, FOR THE INQUIRER
Federal court testimony yesterday about the state of the Chester-Upland School District described a district continuing to slide toward collapse - and a political rift that has derailed the latest effort to upgrade its schools. John J. Tommasini, chairman of the state Board of Control that manages the district's finances, issued the day's most dire prediction. "The state can't fix the Chester schools. Chester has to fix itself. If Chester can't fix itself, then it probably won't be a school district," said Tommasini, who has been the state's representative in the district since June.
NEWS
August 17, 2002 | By Dan Hardy INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Edison Schools Inc. will get paid more and do less as it takes on a second year of managing nine schools in the financially ailing Chester Upland School District. Thomas Persing, chairman of the Board of Control that oversees the district, said yesterday that a tentative agreement had been reached between Edison and the district that calls for the company to be paid $4.4 million this school year - up from the $2.4 million the district had budgeted for Edison last school year. Because of several setbacks and start-up problems, Edison ended up owing the district money last year.
NEWS
December 4, 2012 | By Rita Giordano, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
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NEWS
December 6, 2014 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Many in public education have long argued they are fighting a war against conservative interests that want traditional urban schools abandoned rather than improved so that charters and private academies can replace them. The argument gains credibility when you consider how badly the Pennsylvania Department of Education has messed up the Chester Upland School District. Now it is trying to remove Joe Watkins, the district's chief recovery officer, from the position he was appointed to by former state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis in August 2012.
NEWS
December 3, 2014 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pennsylvania's top education official asked a court Monday to remove Chester Upland School District receiver Joe Watkins, saying he had failed to implement a recovery plan aimed at digging the struggling district out of debt and improving its academic performance. Acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq asked Delaware County Court to replace Watkins with Francis V. Barnes, a former state secretary of education. It would be the first time a state receiver has been replaced under the current law, said Education Department spokesman Tim Eller.
NEWS
March 14, 2014 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
CHESTER UPLAND The Chester Upland School District is laying off nine administrative staff members as part of an effort to reduce a $20 million spending gap, officials said Wednesday. "Given the deficit we face and mandates to rightsize the administrative staff, we have no choice but to reduce the staff size," said state-appointed receiver Joe Watkins, who has been charged with implementing a recovery plan for the ailing Delaware County district. The cuts, which the district had first said would affect 10 employees, will save $1.4 million in next year's $125 million budget.
NEWS
August 23, 2013 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
CHESTER Community Charter School, the largest charter school in Pennsylvania, was singled out yesterday in a blistering report released by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who alleged that the school had improperly collected nearly $1.3 million in state lease payments and had failed to provide children with a quality education. "While those associated with the management of the Chester Community Charter School are making millions off of the backs of taxpayers, the children this charter school serves are not getting the education required to meet state and federal standards," DePasquale said.
NEWS
June 7, 2013 | By Angela Couloumbis and Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writers
The Chester Upland School District is in "disarray," with "ineffective" governance and financial oversight preventing it from meeting its mission of educating students, according to a state audit. "Those students may never recover from the loss of an effective education, and in the long run, the district's failure could ultimately prevent them from realizing their true potential," Auditor General Eugene DePasquale's report said. The review covered the period from May 4, 2010, through Feb. 26, 2013, during which the 4,505-student district was identified as among the lowest-achieving in the state.
NEWS
April 19, 2013
The Chester Upland School District's receiver will discuss plans to improve school security at a meeting set for Thursday night. "We're looking to improve safety overall," said Joseph Watkins, the court-appointed receiver. Among the security enhancements Watkins is expected to outline are state-of-the-art metal detectors and X-ray machines at Chester High School and camera monitoring throughout the secondary schools. The meeting will be held at the administration building, 1720 Melrose Ave., starting at 6. - Rita Giordano
NEWS
February 24, 2013 | By Rita Giordano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The academically and financially challenged Chester Upland School District ended the last fiscal year with a $2 million surplus, according to a newly released audit report. But the surplus was primarily the result of a $20.5 million settlement the Delaware County district received from the state in a suit over funding, according to the accounting firm that performed the audit, released Thursday night. Other factors included a decrease in expenditures because of declining enrollment, related staff reductions, and improved tax collection, said Chris Herr, manager of Maillie, Falconiero & Co. In the prior fiscal year, the district ended up with a $15.5 million deficit.
NEWS
December 15, 2012 | By Rita Giordano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The troubled Chester Upland School District now is in the hands of a state-appointed receiver. With his decision Thursday, Delaware County Court Judge Chad F. Kenney in effect accepted a dramatic overhaul plan for the district that limits the school board's powers to levying taxes. Kenney granted state Education Secretary Ronald J. Tomalis' petition to place the district in receivership and accepted his recommendation to appoint as the receiver Joseph P. Watkins, who was already serving as the district's state-selected chief recovery officer.
NEWS
December 14, 2012 | By Rita Giordano, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The troubled Chester-Upland school district now is in the hands of a state-appointed receiver. With a decision today, Delaware County Judge Chad F. Kenney in effect accepted a dramatic overhaul plan for the district that limits the school board's powers to levying taxes. Kenney granted state Education Secretary Ronald J. Tomalis' petition to place the district in receivership and accepted his recommendation to appoint Joseph P. Watkins, who was already serving as the district's state-selected chief recovery officer.
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