‘Flip the Board Five’ sworn in as Harrisburg School Board directors amid receivership’s hold


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Back in May, five fed-up people decided to do something about a district in chaos.

They won — unseating five incumbents, but a month later, Harrisburg School District fell under receivership, rendering the board powerless, but just because they’re not in the driver’s seat doesn’t mean they aren’t the fuel the district needs for the future.

Jayne Buchwach, Steven Williams, Gerald Welch, Jim Thompson and Doug Thompson Leader turned good intentions into action. 

“They’re like family. We rode this train together, and we’re here to do what we can for the Harrisburg School District,” Williams said.

“Every time I sit at that board table, Harrisburg is sitting with me,” Buchwach said.

The board won’t be able to cast votes on any issues, but the woman at the top said they will still be very busy.

“[We will] have them serve as conduits — sharing of information — to have them value and listen to voices of the members of the community and bring that back,” said Dr. Janet Samuels, Harrisburg School District Receiver.

Williams was skeptical of receivership at first, but after seeing Samuels’ work, he’s all in, and he has some ideas of his own in his new role.

“We could do a youth in government and a walk safe program — to make sure that students have a means to get to school without worrying about violence or cars hitting them,” Williams said.

Buchwach is also hopeful. She sees the big picture beyond receivership. 

“We’re going to be partners with the receiver and the management team to work diligently to get us out of receivership. We could actually rewrite history,” Buchwach said.

“I know that they will be very successful and very important part of this district,” Samuels said.

The district has been hurting, but five new faces are pushing for healing.

“Harrisburg has suffered for a while, but there are still a lot of good people here, and this is for them,” Williams said.

“Those days are over. Those days are over,” Buchwach said.

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