State-Run Pa. District Battles Host of Woes
Chester-Upland May Let Its Contract With Edison Schools Lapse
Four years after a private management company assumed responsibility for most of the Chester-Upland, Pa., schools, the system is in dire financial and academic straits, and is considering letting the contract expire.
The impoverished district southwest of Philadelphia has been widely watched as an example of state intervention in an ailing school system. Pennsylvania has been in charge of Chester’s finances since 1994 and all of its operations since 2000. The 7,500-student district has also sparked debate about the benefits of private school management, since eight of its nine schools are run by New York City-based Edison Schools Inc.
Worsening budget and financial-reporting problems last spring, followed by overcrowding and brawling at the district’s high school last fall, sharpened the focus on Chester’s management. A recent flurry of local and state reports has scrutinized everything from the district’s bookkeeping to its curriculum and found...
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