Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Senate Plan Would Offer Oversight, Recovery for Troubled Schools

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Senate Plan Would Offer Oversight, Recovery for Troubled Schools

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG -- Duquesne City and other financially distressed school districts could see charter schools opened, students sent to other districts and collective bargaining agreements revamped under a proposal approved by a Senate panel on Tuesday.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin, chairman of the Education Committee, borrows from laws addressing distressed municipalities and the Philadelphia schools to lay out a process intended to help districts right their finances. As written, it would apply to Duquesne, which state officials have said cannot continue in its current form after years of financial and academic struggles, as well as the Chester Upland, York and Harrisburg districts.

Under the plan, the secretary of education would declare those districts to be in "financial recovery" and appoint an official, known as a chief recovery officer, to develop and administer a financial recovery plan. That plan could include any of a number of specific tools, some of which could mean dramatic changes for the school district.

The plan could call for a district to convert school buildings to charter schools, a process that, except in Philadelphia, requires the approval of more than half the teachers and parents in a district. It could require the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, with the provision that if negotiations failed, the chief recovery officer could set a new pay scale for employees. And it could allow the district to provide for elementary education by paying another school system to educate its youngest students.

If a district's school board approved a recovery plan, the district would be eligible for a long-term, interest-free loan to be used to implement the changes. (The Legislature would have to appropriate money before the Department of Education could make loans.) If the school board rejected the plan or failed to implement it, the secretary of education would ask the courts to appoint a receiver to oversee district finances. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.