Eight York County schools are on a list of the state's worst performers, with seven of the eight being in York City. The eighth is Hanover High School.
The state published the list, based on last year's combined reading and math PSSA scores, Wednesday.
All but two of the schools in the School District of the City of York made the list, with Goode and Ferguson elementary schools as the only exceptions.
There were 414 public schools in 74 districts on the statewide list, and about 40 percent of them were in Philadelphia.
Under state regulations, low-income students at the listed schools are eligible for scholarship money -- up to $8,500 for traditional students or $15,000 for special-education students -- to attend a different school. The money, funded through a $50 million tax credit, can be used to pay the student's tuition to a private school, parochial school, or a public school with an open enrollment policy.
Schools must also, within 15 days, notify parents and post instructions on how to apply for the scholarships.
Al Moyer, superintendent at Hanover Public School District, said administrators have a plan to notify parents and post instructions on a school district website.
He said he's hoping there aren't many parents who choose to transfer their children to another high school.
"I think generally the community here ... is pretty happy with the performance of Hanover Public schools," he said. "Certainly we are disappointed, but this is not indicative of the quality of instruction in the school district. So we're hoping there's not a knee-jerk reaction."
Moyer said the test scores only reflect the failure of one block of students, 11th graders, in two combined areas, reading and math.
But making the list is a "red flag" for the district to develop strategies to get off the list, he said.
Administration and department chairs are already developing improvement strategies, he said, including realignment of curriculum.
City schools: Failing schools in York City were Davis, Jackson, Devers and McKinley elementary schools, Edgar Fahs Smith and Hannah Penn middle schools, and William Penn Senior High School.
School board president Margie Orr said parents have a right to do "whatever they see fit to do for their children, if they want to remove their children."
She said the school district, throughout history, has produced some of the community's most successful people.
"We had doctors and lawyers coming out (of the district)," she said. "And if things keep going the way they have been going, the school district is going to go bankrupt."
There are systemic problems, she said, including the formation of charter schools that take money away from the school district by charging it per-pupil tuition. While York City schools are making the lists of worst performers, the state "turns a blind eye" to charter schools that are also failing to meet standards, she said.
Orr said she believes some parents are already sending their children to other schools in the suburbs.
"Our enrollment is Hispanic and black," she said. "We have white residents. Where are the white children going to school?"
Education Department spokesman Tim Eller said officials expect students to be able to use the scholarship money in the coming school year, although others say that timeline is optimistic.
Pennsylvania first created the Educational Improvement Tax Credit in 2001, allowing businesses to donate tax-deductible funds to organizations that dole out scholarships to needy students.
-- The Associate Press contrib uted to this report. Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.