Chester-Upland to get $3.2 million from state

January 17, 2012 2:49:38 PM PST
A nearly insolvent school district in suburban Philadelphia will continue operating with a $3.2 million infusion of state money.

A federal judge on Tuesday approved the payment to the Chester Upland School District, which had said it would not meet this week's payroll without the funds.

The $3.2 million is an advance on the state's June subsidy to the cash-strapped district. Schools spokesman Joel Avery says it's unclear how long the money will last.

Education Department spokesman Tim Eller says the funds should keep schools open until the long-term issues can be addressed. A court hearing is set for Feb. 23.

The state rejected a request last month for an $18.7 million advance, saying the district had mismanaged its finances. The district sued the state in federal court last week.

This comes as some community activists are staked out at state Senator Dominic Pileggi's office in Glen Mills. Even though he's in Harrisburg, the activists say they won't leave until he speaks to them over the phone.

Pileggi is in meetings and in session today, but the protestors say they want a conference call to discuss the future of the district.

Closing the schools before the end of the school year would amount to 'educational genocide,' according to one protestor.

"It is the mass dismantling of our young people's education," said the Rev. Bernice Warren.

Pileggi was among the elected officials who submitted a letter to Governor Tom Corbett on Friday asking him to consider a state takeover by declaring the district 'financially distressed.'

"We are focused on our children. We demand that the senator, the governor, and all the parties that be would pay attention to needs of our children, whether it's distressed or not distressed. Our children are distressed and that's what we're concerned about," said Warren.

?? Lawmakers asked for an emergency meeting with the governor but, so far, no meeting has been scheduled.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.