|If the school district has their way, this photo will remain current|
Weeks after signing the 'Save the School District' settlement with the State in Federal Court, the Chester-Upland School District has decided it will appeal the State's Charter Appeal Board decision to approve the Chester Charter School for the Arts in State Commonwealth Court.
Please reread that sentence again before moving on. Does it sound as crazy to you as it does to me?
- The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts applied to the Chester Upland board to open a charter after state funding cuts last year caused significant staff turnover at the Chester Upland School of the Arts.
- After the Chester Upland board denied The Chester Fund a charter, The Chester Fund appealed to the Charter Appeal Board. That board overturned the district’s decision in July.
- The Chester Upland School District and the Pennsylvania Department of Education signed a settlement agreement in federal court later in July.
- The state agreed to pay the district’s outstanding vendor payments from the last school year and its unpaid charter payments. It also will compensate Chester Community Charter School for claims of underpayment in previous years, he said.
- The Chester Upland School District filed an appeal of the Charter School Appeal Board’s decision with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in hopes of overturning the Charter Appeal Board.
- The district based its appeal on its lack of financial resources and the duplication of services...arguing that the appeal board’s decision to grant a charter violated the new distressed schools act.
I'll be the first to argue that charter schools has sucked a lot of money out of the Chester Upland School District. I don't believe the founding fathers of charter financials anticipated that charters would be so predominate, but there hasn't been much effort (or success) to change the original model. Now, charters are becoming a convenient direction for failing school districts to morph into.
On principle, I can't blame the school district for appealing the appeal boards approval of the Arts Charter. But, after selling your soul to the state with the settlement, do you really think you have a leg to stand on?
Why waste time, resources, and money trying to change the minds of the people who have already made up their minds regarding how this school district will be run. How can you expect to win an appeal? When the state reject the appeal, are you planning to appeal to the Feds? If so, how will that look when you just signed a settlement with the state in a federal court room?
These guys have demonstrated their commitment to charters when they agreed to pay all your outstanding bills, including those to the charters. That tells me that no matter how much you may think charters will break the district, there is someone in the state willing to pay that bill.
Yes, the state has cut your legs out from under you, but that doesn't mean you should lock your doors and twiddle your fingers.
Focus all your energy on the classrooms, the teachers, the students, the parents. That's where we need you.
If you keep trying to fight the state, it only convinces us that you have your priorities all wrong.
As quoted in 'The Black Industrialist', "When they put a gun to your head, you have to know when to give it up."