Lawmakers call for state takeover of 'dysfunctional' Harrisburg School District
(Harrisburg) — Pennsylvania lawmakers who represent Harrisburg are calling for the state to take over the city’s school district.
Democratic Representative Patty Kim and Republican Senator John DiSanto both say Harrisburg School District should go into receivership.
DiSanto recently sent a letter to the state education secretary asking him to start the process in court.
“The dysfunction between the board and the administration has just reached a level that I believe it’s affecting the learning environment that the kids are experiencing,” DiSanto said.
He said he’s asking the state to take this step because of declining academic performance, high teacher turnover rates, and poor fiscal management in the district.
DiSanto noted the state recently suspended more than $10 million in funding to the district after the board voted not to cooperate with an audit.
“I think for the state to take that kind of action–to withhold $10 million–that just demonstrates the dysfunctionality there,” he said.
The district is already under a state-mandated recovery plan for its finances, meaning the administration and board are working with a recovery officer.
In receivership, a court-appointed administrator would make all operational decisions.
In a statement, Education Secretary Pedro Rivera did not address receivership, but said the department is committed to implementing a recovery plan.
District officials did not respond to a request for comment.