Pennsylvania schools struggle during state budget talks

After years of cuts to schools in Pennsylvania, districts are trying to stay open as lawmakers and the governor fail to come to an agreement on the state budget.


SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – After years of cuts to schools in Pennsylvania, districts are trying to stay open as lawmakers and the governor fail to come to an agreement on the state budget.

“The problem is a lot of districts don’t have money to go forward,” said Representative Mark Longietti, who spoke with WKBN over the phone from Harrisburg on Monday.

“It’s been a very frustrating process. A big part of the fight is school district funding.”

The City of Sharon is in a lucky situation, given the circumstances. It has several million dollars in the rainy day budget. But, with the budget impasse, that rainy day is here.

“It’s raining hard,” said Tressa Templeton, budget manager for Sharon City Schools.

Templeton said $7 out of every $10 that goes through the school budget comes from the state and federal government.

“That’s a heck of a lot of money that we’re missing out on,” she said.

Other districts across the state are feeling the budget pinch, too.

Erie City Schools has looked into the possibility of shutting down the district until lawmakers come to an agreement. Longietti said he is unsure how long the budget struggle will last, however.

“We can’t simply just give in and say we’re essentially not providing any additional funding,” he said.

But, as districts’ rainy day funds runs dry, school leaders are forced to take drastic measures, like take out loans and not pay bills.

“It’s to the point where, yeah, we can handle the rain, but when the hurricane comes with not passing a budget with half of the school year gone, then yeah, there will be some drastic measures,” Templeton said.

So far, $7 million has been spent out of the schools reserve funds.

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