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York City school board set to vote on possible charter school plan

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It’s been a hot debate for more than a year; should York City Schools convert to charter schools or should they remain district-operated.

"We believe that we have what it takes in York City to educate our own kids,” said Clovis Gallon, a teacher. “We don't need you. We don't trust you. You're in it to make money."

Others, however, say a change is needed, especially after new data released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education shows the district is struggling.

"The situation in York is really a failure of the status quo,” said James Paul, who works for the Commonwealth Foundation in support of charter schools. “Their district ranks 499th out of 500 districts; second to worst in the entire state."

On Wednesday evening York City school board members will have the chance to vote on a proposed blended approach which would combine both types of schooling.

Under that plan, three out of the eight schools in the district would be converted to charter schools.

The remaining five would continue to operate under the district.

Then, after five years, all eight schools would be evaluated by a third party member and whichever group performed better would determine the fate of the district moving forward.

While it may seem like a good compromise, both sides remain firm in what they want.

"Teachers and administrators in York have worked on a set of internal improvement plans,” said Pennsylvania State Education Association spokesman David Droderic. “Those plans are beginning to work and we need to give them time to work."

Paul added, "Over the past decade, York City has seen a substantial increase in spending per student yet as we know the results just aren't there."

The school board meeting is set for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at William Penn Senior High in York.

Teachers and members of the community have planned a rally and march at 5:30 p.m. leading up to that meeting.

1 Comment

  • Bill

    York city schools are doing about as well as can be expected considering the incredible concentration of poverty in the heart of our county. It is an absolute crime that the leaders in York over the past 15 years have left the Rusk Report as yet another “plan on the shelf” and have therefore become complicit in maintaining a core of poverty in the heart of our county.

    Rusk’s prescription (one of them) is to incentivize mixed income housing around the county. No need for bussing. No need to fight the long and important fight to combine our inefficient 16 school districts and 72 municipalities. We could have started right out of the gate when Rusk issued his report 15 years ago. Why should a single mom who works in East York at Wal Mart have to live in the city (one of the only places with affordable housing)? Why should her kids have to attend poorly funded overcrowded schools in the city? She should be able to live near her work place and her kids should be able to attend quality nearby schools.

    In the fight of charter vs. public, we are completely missing the larger point. York County is one of the most residentially segregated counties in the nation. It’s no accident that folks in the suburbs have clung to their 16 school districts and 72 municipalities for so long. There’s something else going on here. And it ain’t pretty.

    Rusk called our silly little boxes “rocket fuel for separatism”. Instead of turning our attention on each other and fighting over the scraps, why don’t we take a step back and realize that there are $37 billion of investable net assets in York County and it is an absolute CRIME that we York Countians are claiming that we can’t afford to educate our kids. HOW DARE WE!!!!!!!!?!!!!!!

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