PSEA President Comments on State Management Assessment Study of Chester Upland School District's Budget

Weaver Disputes Recommendation of State Management Assessment Study



08 Oct, 2004, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania State Education Association

    HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Department of
 Education (PDE) today issued a management assessment study of the Chester
 Upland School District.  James R. Weaver, president of the Pennsylvania State
 Education Association (PSEA), issued the following statement:
 
     "PSEA is pleased that PDE is turning its attention to this very troubled
 district," Weaver said.  "We agree with many of the recommendations.  But PSEA
 disputes the recommendation of the management assessment study to cancel the
 collective bargaining agreements with the Chester Upland Education Association
 (CUEA) and the Chester Upland Education Support Personnel Association
 (CUESPA)."
     "Our legal position is that the contracts with CUEA and CUESPA are legally
 binding, and the state-appointed Board of Control cannot unilaterally cancel
 them," Weaver said.
     "Financial problems in the Chester Upland School District are
 longstanding, but they are not caused by the teachers, who work in difficult
 and often chaotic conditions," Weaver said.  "Such an action would make the
 district even less attractive to new hires, at a time when the district
 continues to struggle to staff its classrooms, and where class sizes at the
 high school in some cases are as high as 35 to 50 students."
     Weaver pointed out that PSEA has sought to work with PDE officials on how
 to improve conditions in the district.  PSEA supports the report's
 recommendation to reduce excessive spending by the district's central
 administration.
     "The fiscal mess in Chester Upland is a direct result of the mismanagement
 and possibly illegal use of funds by the district administration," Weaver
 said.  "Instead of attempting to balance the budget by hurting teachers and
 students, the Board of Control needs to initiate fiscal reforms starting with
 the district superintendent and the central administration staff."
     "The teachers and support staff want to improve teaching and learning for
 the students in the district," Weaver said.  "We urge Secretary of Education
 Francis Barnes to focus on solutions which will restore order and improve the
 climate for teaching and learning in Chester Upland."
     Weaver also praised the management study's call for increased
 accountability for Edison Schools Inc., which manages eight of the district's
 nine schools.  "Increased accountability for Edison is long overdue," Weaver
 said.
     In November 2000, the Chester Upland Education Association (CUEA)
 announced it would cooperate with Edison in its bid to provide privatized
 management of the district's schools.  But in September 2002 the CUEA formally
 ended its cooperation with the company, after teachers found that conditions
 deteriorated, rather than improved during Edison's management of Chester
 Upland.
     Weaver is a social studies teacher on leave from the State College Area
 School District.  PSEA represents 173,000 future, active and retired teachers
 and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania State Education Association
    HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Department of
 Education (PDE) today issued a management assessment study of the Chester
 Upland School District.  James R. Weaver, president of the Pennsylvania State
 Education Association (PSEA), issued the following statement:
 
     "PSEA is pleased that PDE is turning its attention to this very troubled
 district," Weaver said.  "We agree with many of the recommendations.  But PSEA
 disputes the recommendation of the management assessment study to cancel the
 collective bargaining agreements with the Chester Upland Education Association
 (CUEA) and the Chester Upland Education Support Personnel Association
 (CUESPA)."
     "Our legal position is that the contracts with CUEA and CUESPA are legally
 binding, and the state-appointed Board of Control cannot unilaterally cancel
 them," Weaver said.
     "Financial problems in the Chester Upland School District are
 longstanding, but they are not caused by the teachers, who work in difficult
 and often chaotic conditions," Weaver said.  "Such an action would make the
 district even less attractive to new hires, at a time when the district
 continues to struggle to staff its classrooms, and where class sizes at the
 high school in some cases are as high as 35 to 50 students."
     Weaver pointed out that PSEA has sought to work with PDE officials on how
 to improve conditions in the district.  PSEA supports the report's
 recommendation to reduce excessive spending by the district's central
 administration.
     "The fiscal mess in Chester Upland is a direct result of the mismanagement
 and possibly illegal use of funds by the district administration," Weaver
 said.  "Instead of attempting to balance the budget by hurting teachers and
 students, the Board of Control needs to initiate fiscal reforms starting with
 the district superintendent and the central administration staff."
     "The teachers and support staff want to improve teaching and learning for
 the students in the district," Weaver said.  "We urge Secretary of Education
 Francis Barnes to focus on solutions which will restore order and improve the
 climate for teaching and learning in Chester Upland."
     Weaver also praised the management study's call for increased
 accountability for Edison Schools Inc., which manages eight of the district's
 nine schools.  "Increased accountability for Edison is long overdue," Weaver
 said.
     In November 2000, the Chester Upland Education Association (CUEA)
 announced it would cooperate with Edison in its bid to provide privatized
 management of the district's schools.  But in September 2002 the CUEA formally
 ended its cooperation with the company, after teachers found that conditions
 deteriorated, rather than improved during Edison's management of Chester
 Upland.
     Weaver is a social studies teacher on leave from the State College Area
 School District.  PSEA represents 173,000 future, active and retired teachers
 and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania State Education Association