State files court action to take over Harrisburg schools

  • Emily Previti

From The Context, PA Post’s weekday email newsletter:

WITF is hosting a preview screening of “College Behind Bars: the Bard Prison Initiative,” a documentary about the program in place at six facilities across New York, tonight at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. There also will be a discussion with the director and expert panel. If you’re interested, details are here. -Emily Previti, Newsletter Producer/Reporter

There’s history here

Harrisburg School District Board directors Joseph Brown and Judd Pittman during a special meeting to vote on hiring in-house solicitor James Ellison, Monday, April 22, 2019.

Vicki Vellios Briner / PennLive

Harrisburg School District Board directors Joseph Brown and Judd Pittman during a special meeting to vote on hiring in-house solicitor James Ellison, Monday, April 22, 2019.

  • The state Department of Education filed a court action yesterday to take over the beleaguered Harrisburg School District, a move criticized by some — including the PSBA — in light of major pending changes to the school board due to the recent election. Already, a proceeding is scheduled for Friday, notes the Pennsylvania Capital-Star’s Elizabeth Hardison (who formerly covered the city and its schools for The Burg). PennLive has also been following this story closely; Christine Vendel has their latest here.

  • This would be the second takeover of Harrisburg schools. The first time around, the state didn’t take control directly. Instead, the state’s hyper-specific Education Empowerment Act put Mayor Stephen Reed in charge of appointing a control board to run things. This related timeline from PennLive’s archives runs through 2008 — just before the start of the city government’s financial problems that would lead to a takeover of City Hall (which I covered in its final year).

  • Until now, full-blown state takeovers of public school systems in Pa. have been limited to Chester-Upland and Philadelphia. York City School District successfully fought a 2014-15 takeover attempt that would’ve also forced charterization of the entire district (I covered that story, too).

Best of the rest

An apartment for sale in Jersey City.

Jenny Kane / The Associated Press

An apartment for sale in Jersey City.

  • The state’s giving $3.4 million to preserve affordable housing in 10 suburban and rural areas throughout Pa., Ryan Briggs reports for WHYY.

  • A new report suggests access to broadband in rural Pa. is even worse than known previously. WPSU’s Min Xian has the full story, including the FCC’s objections to the findings.

  • Pennsylvania law allows children to wait to start school until they are 8 years old, longer than almost any other state. Gov. Tom Wolf has been saying he wants Pa.’s compulsory education age changed to 6 years old. The state House Education Committee is meeting on the topic today. Keystone Crossroads’ Avi Wolfman-Arent will monitor the discussion for anything newsworthy.


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