State appoints new recovery officer for York City schools

York City School District will have a new state official  overseeing its financial recovery plan, district officials announced Wednesday.

Superintendent Andrea Berry announced that  Michael Thew will replace Carol Saylor following her retirement at the end of July.

“After five years of having Dr. Saylor, we have grown to be very fond of the recovery officer position," she said at a Wednesday school board meeting. "That position has been a great support to the district."

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In fact, officials “affectionately" called her Dr. Mom during her tenure, she said.

“We will be now shifting from a Dr. Mom to a Dr. Dad,” Berry said.

Thew has been a familiar face in the district for several years, known as an advocate for a permanent fair education funding formula, increased state funding and a timely state budget.

He led a news conference as spokesman for the Campaign for Fair Education Funding in 2017, alongside York County superintendents including then- York City Superintendent Eric Holmes.

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Campaign for Fair Education Funding spokesman Michael Thew introduces area superintendents during a news conference regarding the Campaign for Fair Education Funding at the York City School District administrative building in York City, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

A former executive director of Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 and former superintendent at Eastern York School District, Thew also is known as the “shepherd” for a leadership program the district has engaged in under its recovery plan.

“I want to say thank you for the opportunity to serve the school district in a different capacity,” Thew said, addressing the board and administration Wednesday.

He will now see the district through financial recovery — a status first given to York City along with three other districts in 2012.

Saylor was the second recovery officer to be appointed by the state to help officials develop a plan. The first was David Meckley, who received backlash for trying to implement a plan that would convert most of the district’s schools to charters.

York City School District’s Chief Recovery Officer Carol Saylor is shown in her office at the York City School District Administration Building in York City, Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The state decided not to release York City from recovery last summer because of its use of fund balance. The state wants to see no use of fund balance for 2 years in a row.

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PDE spokesman Eric Levis said Thew's role as recovery officer will be effective Sept. 1.

Thew will have a dual role as recovery officer and consultant for the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the leadership program — the Partnership for Leaders in Education School Turnaround Program.