FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland
State Rep. Margo Davidson
Delaware County legislators meet with Corbett on CU financial crisis plan
HARRISBURG, Jan. 23 Ė A bipartisan group of legislators representing Delaware County today met with Gov. Tom Corbett and Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis to hear the governorís perspective on the funding crisis in the Chester Upland School District.
The delegation members from both the House and Senate had requested the meeting to address the potential closing of the district schools.
Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-Delaware, whose legislative district includes Chester Upland, said the meeting was constructive, with all participants committed to doing what it takes to keep the district schools open for the remainder of the school year, which may require an additional appropriation by the legislature.
"There was no finger-pointing or posturing, just a resolve by all to ensure that the children in the Chester Upland District get the education that is theirs by right," Kirkland said. "I was also pleased to hear of the governorís support for the auditor general to initiate an audit of Chester Upland and the charter schools in the district to ascertain where the districtís money has been going.
"However, to be ultimately successful, the outcome of the meetings must be a process through which the state can address budget emergencies that inevitably will arise in other financially challenged districts across the Commonwealth if the cuts in state public education subsidies continue."
Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, said of the meeting with the governor: "We committed to finding $20 million to keep the school district running through the end of the school year. In the meantime, there will be extensive fact-finding as to how the district got in this situation. I join Representative Thaddeus Kirkland in his call for a forensic audit of the Chester Upland School District."
Rep. Greg Vitali also attended the session.
"The state must meet its constitutional duty to keep Chester Upland public schools open," Vitali said. "At the same time, we must take a close look at the problems that led us to this point and make the necessary corrections."
Rep. Maria P. Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, emerged from the meeting with initial optimism.
"I just hope we eventually find out what's been going wrong at Chester Upland for 18 years, then use what we learn to fix it there and put the tools in place to prevent the situation from developing elsewhere," Donatucci said.