Pennsylvania's education secretary asked Delaware County Court on Monday to name the Chester Upland School District's state-appointed chief recovery officer as receiver of the struggling district.

The request by Ronald J. Tomalis came a week after the board rejected a financial and academic recovery plan proposed by recovery officer Joseph Watkins.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the Chester Upland School District and to serve the secretary of education," Watkins said in a statement. "I have every hope that, working with the people in the community, we can make the Chester Upland School District a great school district."

By law, the receiver would oversee implementation of the plan.

The school board, which rejected the plan in a 5-4 vote last week, will continue to exist, but its only power would be to levy taxes.

Spokesmen for the board majority that turned down the plan have vowed to fight having a receiver appointed, and have said they would continue to try to change the plan.

Watkins' plan calls for increasing student performance, luring back students who have left the district's schools, and raising private funding to beef up programs.

It also calls for raising taxes, laying off staff, closing school buildings, and increasing class sizes.

A hearing on the petition has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday before Judge Chad F. Kenney.