With no state budget, Pennsylvania schools start to worry

sharon sharpsville pennsylvania budgets


SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – Pennsylvania state lawmakers have been arguing over the details of the state’s budget since late June.

And while they still have not come to an agreement, the state’s schools are facing growing fears about the future.

“Right now, I hate to say, do their job. We all have jobs to do and theirs is to get us funding and a budget,” Sharon City Schools Superintendent Michael Calla said.

Sharon City Schools, like many other districts in Mercer County have been depending on their rainy day funds and local taxes.

Calla says that money will only last his district through the end of December. The district has been approved for a loan but that will only last the district through early spring.

After that they will have to look into taking extreme measures, like possibly closing the schools or not paying staff.

Just down the street, Sharpsville Area School District is facing a similar dilemma.

Business Manager, Jaime Roberts says they have not paid on certain things, to ensure students education isn’t impacted. The district has money through the end of December to the beginning of January, but then the district will have to depend on a loan.

Here’s a rundown of where school districts in WKBN’s coverage area stand in terms of funding their school year:

Commodore Perry Schools:

What they’ve done: moved money around to pay bills, started using money from the rainy day fund. No extra spending.
What the district will have to do if impasse continues: Take out a loan.
State funding: 69%

Farrell Area School District:

What they’ve done: Relied on local taxes. Used some money from rainy day fund and savings.
What the district will have to do if impasse continues: Take out a loan.
State funding: 55-60%

Greenville Area School District:

What they’ve done: Board voted to allow superintendent and business leader to move forward with a loan — as soon as December. Have not had to eliminate any programs, yet.
What the district will have to do if impasse continues: Take out a loan.
State funding: 65-70%

Grove City Area School District:

WKBN has not heard back from school leaders at this time.

Hermitage School District:

WKBN has not heard back from school leaders at this time.

Jamestown Area School District:

What they’ve done: Taken measures to eliminate extra spending. Have been approved for a loan, if needed.
What the district will have to do if impasse continues: Take out a loan, district thinks the money that’s been approved will get the district through the end of the school year. With or without the budget impasse continuing.
State funding: 56%

Lakeview School District:

From Superintendent Douglas Mays:

The Lakeview School District is monitoring and paying all bills as they come in to the Business Office.  We are constantly monitoring our funds to make those payments.  At present, all payment obligations have been met by the district.

If the impasse continues, the Superintendent and Business Manager will meet with the Finance Committee of the Board to discuss a plan of action.  This would need to occur in January.  With any hope , the impasse will end and a budget will be in place soon.  Throughout the fall, the Board has been kept updated with the state budget process.

As all district, the progress of the state budget is being monitored daily.

Mercer Area School District:

What they’ve done: Operating off of local taxes and district’s money. Should be okay through January. District superintendent went to Harrisburg with other superintendents to talk with state lawmakers and Governor about impasse’s impact on districts.
What the district will have to do if impasse continues: After January, will have to take out a loan.
State funding: 48%

Reynolds School District:

What they’ve done: Filled out paper work for loans. Taking money from the rainy day fund.
What the district will have to do if impasse continues: Take out loans.
State funding: Didn’t have a percentage at the time of the call.

Sharon City School District:

What they’ve done: Relied heavily on local taxes and rainy day fund. Money should last the district through December.
What the district will have to do if impasse continues: Take out a loan. However, worst case scenario would have the district looking at not paying bills; possibly shutting the school district down until impasse continues. Again, district doesn’t think those options will happen, but it is a worst case scenario.
State funding: 69%

Sharpsville Area School District:

What they’ve done: Has gone and secured a line of credit for a loan. Taking money from the rainy day fund and using local tax money. Limiting extra ‘non-essential’ purchases.
What the district will have to do if impasse continues: Take out a loan.
State funding: 63%

West Middlesex Area School District:

What they’ve done: Currently depending on local funding. Debated on taking out a loan. Money should last through December.
What the district will have to do if impasse continues: Possibly take out a loan.
State funding: 56%

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