This article was originally published Aug. 26, 2014.

While results of standardized tests administered to York City School District students during the 2013-14 academic year have not yet been released to the public, the state-appointed chief recovery officer said he believes "academic performance is declining" in the district.

"What we're doing today is not working," David Meckley said.

Meckley made the comments Tuesday during a sparsely attended meeting of the Community Education Council, an advisory board steering the district through its financial recovery process.

He said he based his statement on information he's gleaned from district administrators, who have had time to review preliminary results of the state tests.

The district is now in its second year of implementing a recovery plan developed by teachers and administrators.

Goals: Academic-improvement goals are a big part of that plan, known as the internal transformation model.

For example, the district set a goal of doubling the number of students scoring "advanced" or "proficient" reading and math scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams by 2017-2018.

However, preliminary 2013-14 test scores are worse than 2012-13 results, Meckley said Tuesday.

"How do we give the students in this district the education they deserve?" he said.


Charter option: That question, he said, is driving the district's current focus on vetting two charter companies that submitted proposals and earned the highest rankings in a subjective review from CEC members.

The companies are Charter Schools USA and Mosaica Education Inc.

Meckley said a group of 10 York representatives will visit schools operated by each company between Monday, Sept. 8 and Friday, Sept. 19.

The group includes school board President Margie Orr; school board members Diane Glover-Brown, Michael Miller and Sandie Walker; CEC members Carol Hill-Evans, Robert Woods, Michael Johnson and Ernie Waters; Meckley and Superintendent Eric Holmes.

The following week, the companies will send representatives to York for site visits and public meetings.

Those meetings are tentatively scheduled for the evenings of Tuesday, Sept. 23, Wednesday, Sept. 24 and Thursday, Sept. 25. Details are not yet worked out, Meckley said.

Timeline: Meckley said he hopes to make a recommendation to the school board about the district's future by the end of November, though it could be sooner.

He said that recommendation could be to contract with a charter provider, or it could be to continue with the internal transformation model — assuming the teachers' union agrees to a new contract that cuts wages and benefits as described in the recovery plan.

"We're looking for a united view on how to move the district forward," Meckley said.

— Reach Erin James at