Chester-Upland: Don't let this happen in your backyard

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Chester-Upland rocketed to infamy last month when the district ran out of money and teachers pledged to keep working for free. Almost a month later, teachers still aren't getting paid, unless you count donations from Ellen DeGeneres (and a ticket to the State of the Union).

The teacher-as-hero story has been discussed at length, as has the tension with the local charter providers (check out the Fordham Institute's commentary on this). But what hasn't been much discussed is the fundamental mismanagement on the part of the district that led to this fiasco.

Chester-Upland schools experienced a 20 percent enrollment drop between 2006 and 2010, yet staffing increased 25 percent and the budget by 33 percent.

Gone are the days when districts could count on states to bail them out. The short-term consequences of this are unfortunate but should serve as a wake-up call for other districts allowing such inefficiencies.

Laura Johnson