Scranton School District under State’s ‘Financial Watch’

SCRANTON — The Scranton School District has landed on a list of financially struggling districts and will now have state oversight from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

It’s called “financial watch” status.

Scranton schools being placed on “financial watch” means officials with the Department of Education will have oversight of the district’s finances and future budgets.

It is similar to the “distressed status” the city of Scranton has with the state.

“Financial watch is, very simply, additional technical assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist the school district in managing what are obviously difficult financial conditions,” said State Senator John Blake.

Senator Blake and State Representative Marty Flynn sat with Scranton School District officials and discussed what it would mean for Scranton schools to be on the state’s financial watch.

Scranton is the sixth district in the state to receive the designation after state officials noticed several red flags in Scranton’s financial reports.

The district has no rainy day fund and an annual deficit of more than $20 million.

“Our main goal right now is to close the budget deficit and to gain a fund balance that would put the district in financial solvency,” said Scranton School District Superintendent Alexis Kirijan.

The first step is assigning a Department of Education official to be Scranton’s point person with the state then the state will call for a third-party audit of the district’s finances.

“The message we want to get across is, don’t panic. This is not a takeover, this is not,” said school board president Bob Sheridan. “The state and the school district and the Department of Education and the school board are going to work together.”

State officials say the extra oversight could lead to more state funding down the road, a revenue stream that has shrunk drastically for Scranton schools over the past few years.

8 comments

  • In a galaxy far far away

    Maybe it’s time to renegotiate the districts premium retirement, health care and other benefits that the private sector has had taken from them long ago…not to mention raises uheard of in the private sector. Now I’m sure someone will reply as to how hard they have it in a heated and air conditioned classroom working 9 months out of the year! Their solution….bend the property owners over and let them have it!!!!

    • Common_Sense

      Galaxy you are correct. The teacher’s , school boards and administration are in reality PUBLIC SERVANTS. Their number one priority should be providing students a quality COST EFECTIVE education while protecting the taxpayer’s wallets/purses. Not worrying about yearly raises and Cadillac medical benefits as well as extra ordinary pensions.

      This is not only the Scranton district but numerous others with the same problem. I thought if you were an educated person you would be able to see a BIG problem in front of your eyes. Apparently not…….

  • Gerry

    Perhaps the state financial watch will look into the 800 pound elephant in the room that everyone knows about but never publicly acknowledges. I’m referring to the “payment” to obtain a teaching position in the area along with the rampant nepotism.

  • Sick Parent

    Maybe the state will look closer at the contracts and spending. This district throws money down the drain giving jobs and contracts to friends for higher prices.

  • Just a girl

    I hear they have metal detectors and cops taking the hall in the high school. Yeah. I want my kid to go to that school …riiigght.

  • whatever831

    Yea because several years ago you just had to put millions upon millions for a new “look at the architecture” of this school building. Right. We wonder what went wrong. Just worried about looks, not actual education or anything important.

    • commentswithabrain

      Several years ago? They built it in 2001. Also, keep in mind that if they didn’t spend time on aesthetics people like you would, more than likely, be pointing a finger there too.

      • Just a girl

        Aesthetics…..there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about that building. And from what I hear….it’s too small…..

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