There are two options on the table for turning around the York City School District.

One -- converting all of the district's schools to charters -- has never been tried in Pennsylvania, so it's hard to gauge its prospects for success.

But the other option always has been available, and school boards and administrations over the years have never managed to make it work in York.

That's the "transformation" model presented to David Meckley, the state-appointed chief recovery officer tasked with getting the district out of "moderate financial recovery" and overseeing a 20-person advisory committee to help him get the job done.

The idea essentially means York City Superintendent Deborah Wortham and her administration would get a chance to solve York City's woes on their own.

They've presented a plan, drafted along with the teachers' union, to restructure salaries and convert district schools to themed magnet schools that would allow students to attend schools anywhere in the district.

Maybe administrators have never tried this particular recipe before, but the district has been in trouble for many years.

If administrators were capable of transforming from the inside, why wouldn't they have done so before now?

They haven't because it seems they can't.

In fact, the state Legislature appointed overseers for York and three other districts specifically because it lacked faith the districts were up to the tasks.


School board member James Morgan said at a recent meeting of the recovery advisers he thinks the state action "woke our teachers up. I think it woke our parents up." He and many others at the meeting urged Meckley to give Wortham a chance with the transformation model.

Unfortunately, we share April Murray's concerns. She's a York City mother of district students who said at the meeting she's not confident the administration and staff will fulfill the promises of the transformation model.

"I'm gonna be honest with you, I don't trust you," Murray said.

And why should she, other than because school officials promise they finally got the message and now know what needs to be done?

It's going to take more than that.

Meckley has until April 17 to announce his plan, and there's no indication of which way he's leaning.

If he does decide to give the district another chance, we hope he establishes firm benchmarks to be met and clear consequences for missing them.

And a Plan B probably wouldn't hurt, either.