School Officials Unhappy With Proposed Budget

Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his proposed budget for 2012 and it looks like your local school district dodged the bullet. But at a school board meeting at Scranton High School, school leaders said they’re not happy with Governor Corbett’s proposed spending plan for the state’s 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Governor Corbett’s proposal contains no cuts to basic education. Instead the governor says the state’s public school systems kindergarten through grade 12 will be flat-funded.

Superintendent Bill King said this means the district will get the same amount of state funds as last year. King said that is not good news.

“Keep in mind, last year we took a $5-and-half-million cut, so that really hurt us,” said King. “We had to eliminate some after-school tutoring programs, some of our reading programs.”

Last year, the governor’s budget, approved by the legislature, cut $1.2 billion dollars in public education. School districts across the state including Scranton had to scramble for ways to make budget.

Scranton even considered cutting all-day kindergarten.

Kristina Chevalier has three children in the district and remembers going through that.

“I have one kid that does need the tutoring and stuff like that and I have a daughter that’s in kindergarten this year,” said Chevalier. “That was really hard because you’re taking away from the kids, our future,”

The governor’s proposed 2011 budget also led to discussions on district employee furloughs and salary freezes.

Scranton teachers’ union president Rosemary Boland said they fear they could go through again this year.

“We’re always worried with a governor like this, which we haven’t had for years, who decides to do this kind of cutting to the children in the state of Pennsylvania,” said Boland.

King said the district has to wait until the state has a final budget before they will be able to determine how they will be affected.

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