ARCHBALD -- An agency in Lackawanna County that provides special education services in three counties could soon lose the employees that many rely on.
The Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit, or NEIU, says it will not be able to pay those teachers by mid-December.
And the NEIU says it’s all because the state budget is months over and the NEIU relies heavily on state funding.
“The bottom line is we have a budget impasse at the state level and you know that a large portion of our funds come through the state budget, including our federal funds,” said Bob McTiernan, the executive director of the NEIU.
That was the grim message from administrators at NEIU, telling its employees the financial outlook for the agency doesn’t look good.
The agency that provides special education services in Wayne, Susquehanna, and Lackawanna Counties says with the state budget months overdue, NEIU will not be able to make payroll by mid-December.
“A large percentage of our budget is state funds or pass-through funds from the federal government through the state budget and quite frankly, we’re going to run out of money in a few weeks,” said McTiernan.
If a budget doesn’t get passed, these special education teachers will have to decide whether to continue working without pay or find other work.
For the parents in the Valley View School District, they say there is no price tag on the value of those jobs.
“Absolutely, absolutely, and the services that NEIU provides, I think it’s just unmeasurable,” said Jean Yeselavage, a grandparent.
Others say losing your paycheck in December is even tougher with the holidays.
“There are some people that I know that work at the NEIU. They have families, support their families. It’s terrible,” said parent Mike Shemonski.
The NEIU says it has a $6 million line of credit and from that, it already borrowed $2.8 million. That leaves them with $3.2 million to pay its bills. But the NEIU says it is working with the teachers union.
“The employees and their collective bargaining representatives will make some decisions on whether or not they’re going to continue to come into work and we’ll function without payroll for as long as we can,” said McTiernan.
“I believe most of the people here are interested in continuing services, again, that’s a preliminary feeling from everybody,” said Karen Buttillo, a representative with the NEIU’s teachers union.
The NEIU will hold a meeting on October 27 to discuss the possibility of taking out another loan.