The members of YorkCounts group being mostly businesspersons and politicians, however very dedicated, I have a few observations.
Please note having served on the York City and Vo-Tech School boards 20 years ago, I have a different perspective.
No matter how you read the report it is primarily one thing... a union buster. Charter schools have none. They don't have pensions either and for that matter don't even have administrative qualifications since a building principal needs only a high school diploma. What they do have is profit.
I quote from the report, "While free from many state regulations ..." Yes sir, that translates, "free from costs."
Locally it is interesting, with all the money they receive per student, they don't have enough to purchase computers for them; they use the ones at Martin Library on a regularly scheduled basis.
York City cafeteria workers are cooking the meals for them, too, since they don't have proper facilities. Who is paying building maintenance for that?
So where are the charter schools that answer all the items in the report? Certainly not in York.
Locally, I see the Helen Thackston school on East Philadelphia Street building a several-million-dollar addition to a landlocked location while the city sits with two empty middle schools.
The workgroup's perspective is good if it would reflect a nice suburban socio-economic environment.
What of all the students who transfer from building to building, some of them five and six times each school year? Can charter companies handle that? Right now a charter can deny any student for any reason that it wants.
Would the curriculum be the same in all the buildings?
Who or what is going to make biological parents care about their kids enough to see that homework is completed or even that they get to school on time, let alone have something to eat and a coat to wear?
I believe the K-8 model can affect that aspect. Give them a chance.
If a York City charter would be put into effect, would the pension costs be divided equally between charter companies or would that be subtracted from the per-student allotment?
How long will it take to modify the charter law?
Last, but certainly not least, what of all the learning disability students? The state still mandates criteria without providing funds. It continues to use a percentage model that only benefits the districts with few students in that category.
Would a charter take on those additional costs, which amount to millions of dollars?
When these comments are addressed, then I will look closer at their report.
Helenita (Dita) Ziegler