Over the past ten years, students and teachers in Chester have struggled in response to a lack of funding, organization lack of resources. Various solutions have been attempted to change the structure of education in Chester, but none have been very successful.

The relationship between Chester Upland School District public schools and Chester’s influential charter schools is also important to examine. Some schools are still unsure of their status for next year, most notably the Chester Upland School of the Arts.

The current budget crisis has gained national attention and thus placed Chester at the forefront of the education policy and reform issues that will be debated during the upcoming 2012 election.

Chester resides in the Chester-Upland School District, or CUSD.

Schools in Chester include the Columbus Elementary School, Main Street Elementary School, Toby Farms Elementary School, The Village at Chester Upland, Chester Upland School of the Arts, Allied Health High Schools, Chester High School, and Science & Discovery High School.

Charter School options include Chester Community Charter School, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade,  and Widener Partnership Charter School, serving K through 5.

Chester is currently one of three school districts in the state of Pennsylvania in Corrective Action II for the 9th year for failing to make Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP in the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSAs.

The CUSD was declared to be financially distressed in 1994 and as a result a state oversight board was formed. In 2001, for-profit company Edison Schools assumed control of the district. In 2005, Edison resigned control of the schools.

More info about CUSA:
Lawmakers seek answers for Chester Upland School District
Spencer: Charter school is struggling to survive
The Chester Fund

NPR: Pennsylvania School District Goes Broke
Economist: Studying on a shoestring
NYT: Pennsylvania Schools’ Financing Fight Pits District Against ‘Charter on Steroids
NYT: Joining Mrs. Obama Will Be …
Video: Hero Teacher Sara Ferguson’s Inspiring Story

According to our class interview with Cynthia Jetter, possible solutions include:
– Governor takeover.
– Charter schools, either to individuals or private companies.
– Contracting out to local school districts such as Wallingford-Swarthmore
– Cyber-schools