Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

State files motion to stop Harrisburg school board from granting contracts

Harrisburg school district’s administration building

The state secretary of education has filed an emergency motion aimed at stopping the Harrisburg school district from entering into new contracts, just hours before the school board is scheduled to meet in special session.

Secretary Pedro Rivera this afternoon filed an emergency motion for an injunction “to preserve the status quo,” in anticipation that the board would vote tonight on long-term contracts for the school superintendent and solicitor.

Rivera wants to halt all contractual decisions by the district until county Judge William Tully decides whether or not to grant Rivera’s petition to place the Harrisburg district into state-controlled receivership. That hearing is scheduled for June 17.

“The board should not be permitted to enter into or terminate existing contracts during this interim period with the Petition pending, impacting a receiver’s ability to effect meaningful change,” according to today’s court motion.

In his response, school district Solicitor James Ellison stated that “there is no legal basis whatsoever for infringing upon or limiting their [school board’s] actions as the Secretary requests.”

As of this posting, Tully had not taken action on the injunction motion.

The school board has scheduled a special meeting for tonight to discuss unspecified “personnel issues,” which many believe could include action on several long-term contracts.

On Monday, Rivera petitioned the court to place the Harrisburg district into receivership, citing numerous alleged failures on the part of the current school administration and board. The hearing was originally slated for tomorrow, but was pushed up 10 days.

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