Thursday, June 16, 2005

Pennsylvania school privatization effort collapses - Jun 1, 2005 - Pennsylvania school privatization effort collapses - Jun 1, 2005: "CHESTER, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Pennsylvania's first major experiment in school privatization is coming to an ugly end in this poverty-stricken city of abandoned buildings, vacant lots and closed-down shipyards on the outskirts of Philadelphia.

Edison Schools, a for-profit company hired four years ago to run eight of the city's nine schools, is pulling out in June, partly because it has not gotten paid about $4 million in fees.

The decision followed a tumultuous year that began poorly -- with book shortages, teacher shortages, and a riot at the high school that led to 28 arrests -- and got steadily worse, with Edison at the mercy of local officials when it came to control over the district's finances and getting the information it needed to do its job.

Among other things, it turned out that the district's poor accounting concealed a $35 million budget deficit. District officials said recently that without an immediate loan to pay teachers, the system would have just $9 left in the bank."

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