York city schools may switch to an all-charter district

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There could be a major change in York City schools. Two charter school companies have applied to take over every school in the district. It would be the first time anything like this has happened in Pennsylvania. But teachers are upset. They say hundreds of them could lose their jobs. Seeing all of these people turn out to voice their concerns is something school board president, Margie Orr, welcomes.

"This is what we needed to see and here because we haven't been seeing this past board meetings and it was time for the community come out and let them know how they felt about this," says Orr.

Orr says the district is revisiting the option to go all-charter because it can't come to a contract agreement with the teacher's union. She says they're meeting multiple times a week to reach one.

"It's not all about the finances, it's about our children's education so they gotta really consider that also and that's going to be a big part of our decision moving forward with this," says Orr.

The district wants to increase academic performance but teachers don't think switching to charter schools will make that happen.

"If a for-profit charter like Mosaica comes in like they did in Muskegon, Michigan and comes in and walks away after 2 years from a 5 year contract, where does that leave our community, our kids, our community," says Janice Laird, of the York City Education Association.

Teachers and union members blame the state's education cuts for hurting the students. Now they're not only worried about the students but their own jobs.

"I was born and raised here I'm a product of this community, I graduated from William Penn Senior High School. All of my children attend city schools and I chose to be here, I thought I would probably retire from here," says teacher, Clovis Gallon.

Orr says the school board would like to reach a decision on whether to move to an all-charter district by November. Board members will hear more information from the charter schools Wednesday, September 24th.

5 comments

  • Yorker

    There needs to be another high school to create healthy competition. Whether this is accomplished by consolidating school districts or by creating two smaller schools, harnessing school pride and fostering healthy competition is what matters I think. People should have the ability to transfer to another school when things go south, not allowing that sets up an abusive monopoly that destroys promise. I think that was why closing New Hope was particularly painful. What we need, I think, is a York version of Milton Hershey.

  • UnionJack

    This is exactly what needs to happen. For FAR to long the PSEA and the teacher unions have complained about lack of funding. However, the schools have PLENTY of money (average per pupil spending is $14,000) but the unions only want to fight for higher pay–not better education. If teachers claim they “deserve” to be paid more, then let the market decide that–not a union. If a teachers want to strike–let them. There are plenty of unemployed teachers who would love to be employed and adding competition to the mix is only going to better education. Right now there is zero competition and no reason to work any harder because under the current system, teachers are guaranteed pay increases.

  • Robert S Kistler

    The article states, “Teachers and union members blame the state’s education cuts for hurting the students. They are correct that many children are being harmed but it is the current SD funding method that is primarily behind the hurting! Property taxes have become so onerous that they now are significantly reducing a child’s socioeconomic outlook / opportunity. We all hear education starts in the home and this is so very true. The financial and emotional stress property taxes are placing on the family unit have now filtered down to many children. Whether it be working long hours, multiple jobs, or turnings down thermostats to 60 or below during winter to save enough money to pay property taxes, children are bearing the brunt of this stress. At best property taxes are detrimental to a child’s learning environment and at worst border on flat out abuse. Abuse takes many forms. No tax should have the power to harm our children.

    As far as teacher pay I have no issue with their current weekly pay or even propose increases. But and it is a big BUT, when discussing pay overall compensation must be included. When the value of an educator’s pension is included, total compensation becomes rather astronomical. Based on the current pension formula it is typical for today’s educators to retire at roughly 80% of their working pay. Add social security and often income exceeds income when working. This does not consider 403B (similar to 401K) plan income. Rather astounding and never discussed! Thus, in reality educators overall compensation is already extremely generous. The amount of money a private sector employee would have to save to obtain this income level in retirement is simply impossible for most but the very top wage earners with still intact pensions. It may appear I am targeting educators but this is not the case. Point the finger at who you want but the simple fact is that the public pension crisis is well on its way to bankrupting this state and the homeowner. A great starting point would be to pass SB 76 which would fully fund schools while forcing the pension debacle back on the shoulders of the General Assembly where it belongs, they created this situation.

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