Teaching Without Pay

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 10:27am

Teachers and staff of troubled school district say they'll keep working without paychecks.

Parents in a troubled school system just outside Philadelphia are pressing the state to provide millions of dollars in aid so the district can make its payroll next week.

In December the Chester Upland School District asked for an $18.7 million advance on expected state funding.

State officials have said no, accusing the board of mismanaging its finances.

Now, the district says it won't be able to meet payroll by January 18.

Teachers and staff have said they will stay on the job as long as they are able.

Joel Avery, a spokesman for the district, said the school and the Department of Education have been meeting regularly, trying to find a solution.

“All parties are at the table, trying to resolve the situation,” Avery said. “The clock is ticking and so the board is considering drastic measures at this point.”

The district, one of the state's poorest, gets about 70 percent of its budget from the state.

It has approximately 7,000 students, with about 3,700 in district schools and the rest in charter schools.

Tim Eller, a spokesman for the Education Department, said the state is concerned about both the students' education and the way the district spends its money.

The state has advanced money to the district before, Eller said, and the district has mismanaged it.

“The department is working with the district to get out of this mess,” he said. “Advancing all this money is not correcting the problem.”

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