Where to Find $18 Million for Scranton Schools

SCRANTON -- The hits keep coming for the Scranton School District. Just weeks after a scathing financial report by the state auditor general, Scranton's school board approved a new budget with an $18 million hole.

Jobs and programs for students could be in jeopardy.

The school board will have to pass the final budget by the end of the year but agreed on a preliminary budget Monday night with that $18 million gap.

While there are no specifics yet on what would be cut to close that gap, there's a lot of worry for all aspects of public education in the city of Scranton.

Parents and teachers worry what a potential $18 million shortage in next year's budget could mean for programs, jobs, and more.

"I think every department will take a hit, so it's not only affecting the lives of staff but mostly our students," said speech pathologist Beth Kilker.

With a little more than 10,000 students in the Scranton School District and enrollment not going down anytime soon, it means there are cuts coming, but officials can't say what they are.

"I think it's time to sit down and buckle up, and if we have to cut back, it's got to be done," said Scranton School Board President Bob Sheridan.

Outgoing board president Sheridan was the only "no" vote against the proposed budget. Sheridan expects school taxes will go up and more when the new board votes on a final budget before 2018.

"Yes, I definitely see layoffs coming."

Scranton's superintendent declined to speak on camera, saying rising health care and pension costs, along with debt mean, "we have to take a look at what our students are most interested in and what gives them a well-rounded education," adding the district needs to, "see how we can streamline."

The head of the teachers' union says the district is in a hole because of past poor decisions and teachers shouldn't bear the brunt of any cuts.

"I'm very concerned," said Rosemary Boland, Scranton Federation of Teachers. "I fear the fact that people think that the teachers and professionals of our union will be responsible for making up that $18 million deficit. That is just not possible."

Teachers do not have a new contract yet for next year.

Scranton school officials plan to come up with ways to save millions before the budget is due at the end of next month.

15 comments

  • Ry

    Cuts, cuts cuts. Make teachers pay 20% of their healthcare. Trim pensions make them convert to 401k. Watch the rats bail or go with flow.

  • So Simple

    Borrow more money with a repayment schedule spread out to infinity. Done! Geez you conservatives are worried about silly things like budgets! No wonder you never get to be in charge of stuff.

  • Charles

    “I’m very concerned,” said Rosemary Boland, Scranton Federation of Teachers. “I fear the fact that people think that the teachers and professionals of our union will be responsible for making up that $18 million deficit. That is just not possible.” THAT’S the attitude that dug the fiscal hole in the first place.

    • Move to Mexico

      Run it like a business, and move to Mexico. Families/Staff/Teachers that won’t move willingly will be deported! This is Scranton right? That’s a win/win!

  • trucker

    Declare the government schools a massive failure and divert ALL tax dollars to private schools.
    Outlaw teachers unions as a terrorist organization.
    Sit back and enjoy being a real American again!

  • Deputy Pole Stalker

    Require the school board to personally finance any structural deficit in the budget they pass. Done! Forever!

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      Now that’s a fn awesome idea!!! That’s probably the best solution I’ve ever heard for any school board or governing body who can’t manage their way out of a McDonalds drive thru!

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      It all comes down to accountability.

      There isn’t any.

      The method of voting them out next election doesn’t work anymore.

  • buzzed driver

    Repeal child labor laws , Tax heroin , impose a junkie user fee for methadone/ suboxone , Tax oxies with a nussiance tax . Come on PA , maybe issue pedaphile permits , Make as much good as promoting gambling for govt. proffit . Or just cut administration and salaries along with benefits- programs and declaire bankruptcy on teachers retirement fund .

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    It’s called cutting expenses, morons.

    Cut out football. That alone will relieve $9,000,000 worth.
    All it does is create false hope in the name of school pride anyway.

    Who gives a shyt?

  • In a galaxy far far away

    How about doing what the private sector has been doing for years…….pay more and get less health insurance, freeze or reduce pensions, no rediculous raises, more work per person! Why are state employees always protected from operating withing their budgets? Look to the taxpayers to bail them out…the same people who had their benefits pilfered long ago. No shame! Disband the teachers union before they bankrupt the property owners!

  • warningfakenews

    Simple, just raise taxes so high, the seniors can’t pay it and foreclose on them. The new owner will pay it until they’re in the same boat.

  • Frank Rizzo

    I can’t speak for Scranton, but In WB area, teachers get 102% of their base pay as their starting pension. Most pensions in WB area before health care costs, start at $90,000 a year.

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