A proposal to turn the York City School District into a charter school only program was overwhelmingly rejected by a recovery board Thursday night, 19 to 1.
In December, the York City School District was declared "financially distressed" by the state. A chief recovery officer was appointed and two options were put on the table; a full internal transformation or a move to become "charter school only."
"It sets up a system that is separate but might not be equal," said Kevin Schreiber, a Democratic candidate for the 95th district in the state House of Representatives.
Schreiber said he believes that city students should not be forced into charter schools in order to receive education equivalent to other places in York County.
"I think we need to look at the data, and the data shows that they really don't do any better than public schools," said Bill Swartz, a Green Party candidate for the 95th district.
All three candidates for the 95th walked with the teachers, despite a split in opinion.
Republican candidate Bryan Tate said he believes that the way to create a more sustainable learning environment is to "create something bold and innovative and new that would be a dramatic change from what we have now."
Tate supports a nonprofit-run charter system.
With teacher jobs on the line, those who spoke up at the Thursday night meeting with the York Recovery Board weren't convinced.
"Where's the accountability for the charter schools? They are allowed to fail and we are allowed to fund them," said one district mother.
The board's decision was backed by the David Meckley, the chief recovery officer.
"We stay because, in spite of the bad, we have awesome kids," said one of many teachers who spoke in gratitude after the recommendation was made.
One of the major financial burdens for the district is the increased migration of city students to outside charter schools. Teachers at the meeting said their goal is to win back those students.
The school board is expected to give final approval to the recovery plan later this month.
According to Meckley, if district performance does not improve by 2015, there is a chance that individual city schools could be taken over by private organizations.