The Chester Upland School District frequently gets the adjective "embattled" in front of its name, and it has earned that name by suffering every hardship ever inflicted on a school district. Most recently, it has been the target of a plan to chop the district up and sell the parts off to various charter school operators.
But suddenly, this week, new issues. The story was first picked up by the Delco Times, and in that version, the FBI has descended upon the southwestern PA district. Yesterday the Philadelphia Inquirer's Maddie Hanna and Vinny Valla covered the story as well, and the narrative is morphing. In their version, the FBI makes no apearance and this is just an inquiry by the county DA.
But central to all versions of the story are "millions" of missing dollars.
Juan Baughn is the state's current receiver (the district has had several at this point) who moved directly to that job from the superintendent's position in the district. His explanation is, well...Juan Baughn, the receiver overseeing the school district, said it contacted law enforcement after it didn’t receive “millions” of dollars in a subsidy payment due last week from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
“Our system, between us and Harrisburg, somehow was hacked,” Baughn said Thursday. “It’s a cyber issue.”
Baughn didn’t specify how much money the district believed had gone missing — “I’ve heard so many numbers that I don’t want to give a number” — but said it was “in the millions.”