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Vigil held to save Chester-Upland School District
12 January 2012
CHESTER, Pa. - January 12, 2012 (WPVI) -- A vigil was held Thursday evening by those who want to save the Chester-Upland School District.
The district is broke. Officials say it is saddled with debt from a prior state takeover and fresh cuts from the Corbett Administration.
The folks are petitioning the governor to step up and stabilize the situation.
"We need him to keep his campaign promise. He promised every child regardless of zip code will have access to quality education," vigil organizer Danyel Jennings said.
The district has only $100,000 in the bank; it won't be able to make its million dollar payroll next week.
The district and Harrisburg have been trying to find common ground for months.
"They have said they would like to help, but they find no way in which they can do it; they say they do not have the money," Acting Deputy Superintendent Thom Persing said.
The teachers and others who work here have vowed to work for nothing at least for now.
Some including union officials think this grim situation did not occur by accident, that the governor who wants school vouchers and is a backer of charter schools is sending a signal.
"This is sending a signal and harming the students at the school district, unfortunately. [This signal is] that he is not a fan of public education and he is for privatizing public education so it is no longer public," Lind Cook of the Pennsylvania State Education Association said.
A Department of Education spokesperson says this is not a case of school choice or school voucher issues. The spokesperson says that what happened is local to Chester-Upland, adding the state has sent extra money to the district before; the school board has not been the tough decisions it needs to make.
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