Harrisburg School District board member not happy about closed-door meeting

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A closed-door meeting was held in Dauphin County Sunday night.

Some board members with Harrisburg School District Meeting met ahead of a hearing on the state's potential takeover of the district tomorrow.

Carrie Fowler, one of the attending members, said it was last minute.

Danielle Robinson, president of the board, called it an "emergency executive session" but, according to Fowler, released little to no details to even members of the board about it.

"There was absolutely no need to have an emergency executive session on Father's Day to bring board members out," said Fowler. "I just know we're directly violating the judge's rules. I was in the courtroom last Friday, and the judge specifically said these special meetings have to stop."

Only 4 of the district's 9 board members showed up to it, according to Fowler.

"Our board president appointed these incumbents to be chairs of committees - they don't show up for that. They're never showing up to run these committees, policy and procedure, committee relations. The board president is running all of these committees. She is trying to run the board. It's very apparent what it says - they don't care about the kids," said Fowler.

The meeting came just one day before a hearing on the state's possible takeover of the district.

While Fowler couldn't say much about what was said behind closed doors, she did say this about the district's problems: "There's a fire going on over here, and you're running over. You're trying to put it out, and as you're getting your hose out to put it out, they start another one over here, so you run to this one. This one is still burning, and you're trying to put this one out too, while keeping an eye on that one. Next thing you know, there's another fire over here, and you ran out of water... so you sit back and watch it all burn," she said.

A study by Mass Insight Education and Research into Harrisburg School District recently revealed its pass rates have declined significantly in the last four years.

Its graduation rates also currently rank among the state's bottom two percent.

The hearing on the state's potential takeover is set for 8:30 a.m. in the Dauphin County Courthouse.

There is also a public school board meeting scheduled for Monday night.

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