Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Highlights of Press Release

Summary of Recommendations 

Encouraging students to return to the district
Academic performance benchmarks
Education enhancements

New district leadership 

Plan is hiring by April 1 a dynamic, permanent superintendent who will raise academic standards, establish a vision for a high-performing district and ultimately win back the students who left the Chester Upland School District for charter schools. Charter and cyberschools now educate 3,997 students in the district. 

The district will also hire a chief financial officer to institute a formal budget process, improve budget tracking and financial reporting, and increase accountability.  To raise revenue, the CFO will be expected to do a better job of collecting property taxes and securing increased federal funding through grant-writing.

School consolidation and rightsizing of staff

Columbus Elementary School will be closed in December and its students shifted to other district schools over the winter break.  Stetser Elementary will also be closed over the winter break or soon thereafter.

Over the summer, the school reconfiguration will be completed with the closing of Smedley High School, the current STEM magnet high school, and the administration building. The STEM magnet program and the district administration will be shifted into a separate self-contained space at Chester High School. 
The district is also forced to reduce its faculty and staff by approximately 17 this school year and 53 next year. 


The Approval Process for the Financial Recovery Plan  
The plan now goes to the Chester Upland School District board, which must approve or reject the plan by Nov. 23. 

If the board approves the plan, Chief Recovery Officer Watkins has 5 days to send the report to the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education. The Education Secretary then has 10 days to approve or disapprove the plan. If rejected by the Secretary, the CRO must present a revised plan within 20 days. If the plan is approved by the Education Secretary, by state statute Watkins will oversee the implementation of the plan for the academic and financial recovery of the Chester Upland School District. 

For more information, visit the Chief Recovery Officer’s website:

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