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Bill To Save Financially Distressed Pa. School Districts Awaits Corbett’s Signature

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Governor Corbett now has on his desk a controversial bill that supporters say is designed to create a system of prevention and recovery for school districts that are financially troubled.

Bucks County Republican Paul Clymer, chairman of the House Education Committee, spoke as the House debated the bill before giving it final legislative approval Thursday night.

“The purpose of this legislation is to raise a red flag early on.”

In addition to creating a system whereby the state Education Department will monitor school districts for signs of financial difficulty, the bill also creates protocols for districts deemed to be in financial recovery, including the appointment of a Chief Recovery Officer for those districts.

Philadelphia Democrat Mark Cohen, an opponent of the measure, thinks it looks a lot like the model Philadelphia schools have been using in recent months.

“My problem in supporting this is that I know how the model has worked in Philadelphia – and it really hasn’t worked very well.”

Cohen says what distressed districts really need is money.

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