The York City School District in Pennsylvania is in receivership.
Judge Stephen Linebaugh of the York County Court of Common Pleas late Friday supported the request for receivership that acting state education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq made three weeks earlier.
Under provisions of the School District Financial Recovery law, passed by state lawmakers in 2012, the Department of Education placed the district in moderate financial recovery status and appointed David Meckley as receiver.
Meckley, 63, of Spring Garden Township, whose title had been chief recovery officer, now has all the school board's powers except for levying taxes during his three-year term. He is president and owner of Strategic Advantage Inc., which he founded in 2001. He is a former president of Flinchbaugh Engineering Inc. and now serves as chairman of its board of directors.
Last month, the school board tabled a motion to turn all district schools into charters under a privatization draft agreement with Charter Schools USA, as Meckley had advised. The move would have taken effect in July after a six-month transitional period.
"For nearly two years, Mr. Meckley has attempted to work with the school board to implement a financial recovery plan - approved by the board in June 2013 - that would ensure students have access to quality academic programs while restoring fiscal stability to the district," Dumaresq said in early December.
"During this time, the board has consistently failed to follow the recovery plan and the directives of the chief recovery officer," she said. "It is now necessary for the district to be placed into receivership so the recovery plan can to be fully executed for the benefit of the students and to return the district to financial solvency."
The district filed an appeal to Linebaugh's ruling, also on Friday.
"We're disappointed, obviously," Marc Tarlow, an attorney for the district, told the York Daily News.
York sits about 25 miles south of state capital Harrisburg.
Moody's Investors Service downgraded the district to Baa2 from Baa1 on nearly two years ago, saying problems in budgeting for charter school tuition expenses were leading to repeated deficits and a negative general-fund balance. Moody's, which has a negative outlook, also cited a high poverty rate and heavy debt.
The school districts in York, Duquesne, Harrisburg and Chester-Upland are in financial recovery status while the Aliquippa, Reading, Steelton-Highspire and Wilkinsburg Borough districts are in financial watch status.