(Sep 2) In Chester district, pomp, and tough circumstances

By Kathy Boccella
The Philadelphia InquirerIt was a day for traditions as the new school year opened in the cash-strapped Chester Upland School District this morning – the good and the bad.

At 7:30 a.m., hundreds of students, teachers, staff, and others gathered outside Chester High School for an annual rite – a bell-ringing ceremony that celebrates both the start of classes and the perseverance of an urban district in almost perpetual crisis.

As the chimes faded, teachers in the Delaware County district walked past the orange-and-black balloons and returned to classrooms to confront less-cherished traditions almost as predictable in Chester-Upland as back-to-school shopping ads: Fiscal chaos, and not knowing when their next paychecks will come.

With state education aid frozen by the two-month-old budget stalemate in Harrisburg, and a Wolf administration plan to sharply reduce Chester-Upland’s payments to charter schools rejected, unionized teachers and staff have voted to work without paychecks pending resolution of the cash crisis.

Full story: In Chester district, pomp, and tough circumstances, By Kathy Boccella, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/2/15


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