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CUSD officials reject Kirkland’s idea to shutter schools

By JessicaBautista jbautista@chesterspirit.com Chester Upland School District (CUSD) administrators and board members candidly spoke out Tuesday afternoon (June 14th) against state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland’s recent proposal to sue the state to close Chester’s high schools if Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed education budget, including a whopping $20 million cut for Chester-Upland, is passed on June 30th. “The school board is perfectly capable of speaking for itself,” said CUSD Board President Wanda Mann. “We had nothing to do with the press conference (Kirkland) held; we were caught off-guard and totally disagree.” Mann was referring to the brief press conference Kirkland staged early Monday morning on Springfield High School’s grounds with a small group of supporters. The purpose was to voice their heightened concerns about how the district would sustain itself if it were to adopt its preliminary, balanced operating budget unveiled earlier this month to the public, if the overall state budget were so severely cut. Kirkland explained, however, that he was not speaking on behalf of the school board nor is he paid to do so. “I was speaking as a legislator, a concerned parent, a resident of Chester, and a pastor who has the heart of people in hand,” he said. Mann, like Springfield High School Principal Frank McKnight, said she was surprised about the press conference in front of the school. Mann said Kirkland had not once reached...

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CHS Class of 2011 encouraged to be proud of roots and mindful of the city

  By LorettaRodgers lrodgers@chesterspirit.com   Cheers erupted Friday evening when the 296 members of the Chester High School Class of 2011, dressed in traditional caps and gowns bearing the school colors of orange and black, entered the district’s athletic field for the school’s 137th commencement ceremony. Following a presentation of colors by the Chester High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC and singing of the national anthem, the graduates were addressed by class President Javai Green, Chester-Upland School Board President Wanda Mann and Dr. Joyce Wells, acting superintendent of the Chester-Upland School District. Mann told the graduated to be proud...

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Betrayed by the Archdiocese?

Parents upset that OLCS will close forever By LorettaRodgers lrodgers@chesterspirit.com C rossing guard Linda Riffert stood at her corner last Wednesday afternoon patiently waiting for Our Lady of Charity School students to be dismissed for the day. Her mood was somber and Riffert knew attitudes of the children she would be crossing were no better. “In addition to being a crossing guard, I also work at Charity as a lunchroom aide,” said Riffert. “The students were really sad today because their school is closing.” The night before, at a hastily called meeting in the church hall, Mary Rochford, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, told more than 100 parents that Our Lady of Charity School (OLCS) was definitely closing at the end of this school year. Rochford suggested that OLCS students enroll at St. Joseph School in Aston. “I am, in no way, saying that there is not quality in the education going on here at (OLCS), because there certainly is,” said Rochford. “But, this school is not meeting the standards for a quality Catholic school and going forward with the low enrollment we are looking at right now, this school does not meet the criteria set at this time.” Currently, the criteria set for class size by the Archdiocesan Office of Education is 25 students in kindergarten; 30 in grades one through three; and 35 in...

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Chichester police cracking down on illegal drugs

By JessicaBautista jbautista@chesterspirit.com Only five Upper Chichester individuals remain wanted under an investigation called “Operation Pain Killer” for the alleged illegal sale of prescription drugs, following a series of 28 other arrests during a sweep last week. As of press time, Upper Chi law enforcement was still looking for Jose Rodriguez, Jason McCabe, Joshua Zalota, Brian Smith and Diane Vincent. District Attorney G. Michael Green said these people are presumed to be armed and dangerous and people should call police if they are spotted. The multiple busts are only a fraction of several other ongoing efforts to weed out the increasingly pervasive illegal usage and distribution of painkillers, according to Green, who was joined by Upper Chichester Police Chief Thomas Bush and Lower Chichester Police Chief Thomas Gaspari at a press conference last week. The sweep was initiated as a result of two prior investigations into the murder of Upper Chi residents, 83-year-old George Shrom and 25-year-old Dana Felts, over a year ago. Green said Felts, thought to be a housewife, was allegedly involved in the drug trade. In a separate crime, Shrom was said to be killed by a person he hired as a handyman who, according to Green, was also involved in illegal drugs and died from an overdose. Many of the arrests, according to Green, were from ongoing undercover investigations along with several tips received from...

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Hundreds take part in annual 5K walk/run sponsored by the sheriff

    By WillieMcGonigle wmcgonigle@chesterspirit.com Hundreds of runners and walkers of all ages sprinted to Linwood, Lower Chichester Township last Sunday for the fourth annual Sheriff’s Scholarship 5K Walk/Run. Proceeds from the event go to scholarships at Delaware County Community College (for emergency preparedness) and the local parish school, Holy Saviour-St. John Fisher. While the run may be the main draw, it also provided an opportunity for families to spend time together at the car show and flea market that went along with it. “Today is about people coming together for a family event, flea market, run and car show,” Delaware County Sheriff Joseph McGinn said. He added, “Ultimately what we are looking to do is raise money for scholarships.” McGinn noted that while there are two current scholarships now, he is looking to expand that number. McGinn called the day, “Rewarding to see this type of turnout especially on a day that’s kind of iffy; good for a run, but questionable as far as the car show and flea market. But it’s a very successful race.” Dan Schuster, 16, a member of the Sun Valley Junior ROTC, was the unofficial winner of the race, completing the course in 17:55. Schuster, who was there to work the event, decided to run. He said about being first, “It’s an amazing feeling.” After completing the race, runners relaxed, browsed the flea...

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