Reaction to Budget Cuts in Shamokin

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A school board member from the Shamokin Area School District is speaking out about a decision made at a recent meeting.

Thursday night, board members voted to furlough 22 teachers and cut music and art programs from kindergarten through eighth grade.

That school board member said the cuts are necessary to balance the district's budget.  He blames funding cuts from the state and said even though Thursday night's vote was for a tentative budge, he doesn't see the decision being reversed.

Ken Metzinger has three children in the Shamokin Area School District. One of his sons wants to study art in college and said the school's program helped him immensely.

"His art teacher taught him a lot and helped him a lot with colleges he wants to go to.  He enjoyed art a lot," said Metzinger.

"We're facing an incredible deficit. It's around $5 million and cuts are going to be necessary no matter what.  It's inevitable," said Charles Shuey, Shamokin Area School Board member.

Shamokin Area School Board member Charles Shuey was the only one to vote "no" at Thursday's meeting, but he says major cuts are necessary to balance the district's budget.

This is only a preliminary budget but Shuey said he doesn't foresee any changes unless some current teachers retire or the state increases funding.

"Our hope is the state legislature sees the damage being done to public education as a result of cuts and restores some funding," said Shuey.

K&S Music in Paxinos provides the Shamokin Area School District with drum sticks and other supplies.  Manager Dale Fahringer said the cuts are a bad idea.

"As far as that age group, especially when learning music, the earlier the better.  It helps with interest, motivation and enthusiasm," said Fahringer.

The Shamokin Area School Board member Newswatch 16 spoke to said even if the board would raise taxes it still wouldn't be enough money to save the teachers.

The final budget must be in place by June 30.