State files petition for York to enter into receivership; first step in full-charter move

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The state has filed a petition to put the York City School District into receivership. If approved by a York County court, the move would essentially strip the school board of its power. A spokesman for the Department of Education says this is the first step in moving the district towards a full-charter district operated by Charter Schools USA. It’s a move some parents and teachers say they would do anything to stop. It’s been a back and forth battle for years between the school board and Chief Recovery Officer, David Meckley.

But the state’s department of education may have the last word. The state filed a petition in York County court on Monday requesting that Meckley be appointed receiver. If approved the school board would essentially be stripped of its power, besides levying taxes. The district would then begin to move to a full-charter school district beginning next year.

"It is a drastic move but it's something that, what we have now is not working. And this school district is not academically improving," says Department of Education Spokesman, Tim Eller.

Eller says a year and a half ago the board approved the recovery plan. It included charterizing the school district if the internal plan failed.

"The same board that approved the original financial recovery plan is not continuing to move forward with implementing other parts of the recovery plan and that's very concerning," says Eller.

Because of this petition, some teachers and parents are thinking about moving out of the city.

"I've been considering and thinking about this all day. Like what will be my next move. That will definitely be on the table for me and my family. Where would we move to? What would we do? Where would I send my kids to school? I can definitely tell you it won't be Charter Schools USA," says teacher and parent, Clovis Gallon.

Longtime teacher and parent, Clovis Gallon, says Meckley never answered questions the school board asked at last month's meeting. Among many things, the board wanted to know specifically what provisions Charter Schools USA had in place for students with special needs.

"He never answered. The board said you know we'll get back to you within 10 days of answering these questions," says Gallon.

Now, York could be the first school in the state to enter uncharted territory.

"Charter schools are not a new concept but the charterizing of a whole district would be. But it's nothing to shy away from," says Eller.

Under the law, the court has 7 days to schedule a hearing for the petition. Within 10 days of that hearing, the court needs to issue an opinion either approving or denying it. If the petition is accepted, Meckley could immediately sign off on the charter school contract.