Harrisburg School District goes under state control
John Harris High School is seen on April 24, 2019 (Sean Simmers/PennLive)
(Harrisburg) — Harrisburg School District is now under state control.
The district chose not to fight the state’s petition for receivership during a court hearing Monday morning.
A Dauphin County judge appointed Janet Samuels to act as receiver for at least three years. She had been the district’s chief recovery officer.
As receiver, she will have final say on virtually all decisions made in the district.
After years of financial and academic problems in Harrisburg School District, the state secretary of education initiated a state takeover earlier this month.
School board member Carrie Fowler said, at first, she was against receivership, but changed her mind after reading the findings of an independent study on the district.
“When I read that report where 75 percent of our teachers and staff consider it a toxic work environment, I knew that there really was no other choice moving forward. We had to go into receivership,” Fowler said.
Fowler said the board has been focused on administrative issues since she joined in late 2017.
She said she hopes receivership will move the district forward and put the focus back on students.
“Making sure that they’re receiving a quality education, they’re receiving the resources that they need; wrap-around services so that they can get back to the business of learning,” Fowler said.
The district has been in recovery–a lower level of state oversight–since 2012.
It joins two other districts in receivership: Chester-Upland in Delaware County and Duquesne City in Allegheny County.