SCRANTON -- There was yelling, and at times, insults hurled at a Scranton School District Budget and Finance meeting Thursday night.
School board directors got a look at a tentative budget plan, which includes laying off 89 people.
"We're very upset, I have teachers calling every day, they're coming in to see the seniority list. They're coming in, they just want to see if they're going to have a job, they don't know,” said Rosemary Boland, president of the teachers union.
School directors are scrambling to approve the budget by the end of the year.
They are trying to close a nearly $19 million budget deficit.
They just learned they do not have to pass a balanced budget, but they need to come up with a clear plan to get the district out of the hole.
"It does give us more time, but at the same time, I'm a little leery of not getting it in on time. We don't want to do anything to jeopardize our status with the state,” said Scranton School Board President Barbara Dixon.
Board members listened to a plan that includes those layoffs, which include music, physical education, art, special education, librarians, and other teachers.
If approved, the plan would change the school schedules for all students and require regular elementary education teachers to teach classes like gym, art and music.
"I feel bad for the kids who do take those classes because then like that's something they enjoy doing to come to school, they're going to lose that,” said Sydney Decker, a Scranton High School Junior.
"It's going to be sad for like the families of those teachers because they worked hard to get these jobs so it's sad to like get them taken away,” said Katarina Montoro, a Scranton High School Junior.
The board of directors plans to have a budget hearing next week, to hear the publics' opinions before making any final decisions.
School leaders say the hard fact remains: this district is in serious financial trouble and hard decisions have to be made.
"If the board approves it, the layoffs would be for July 1, for the 2018 school year,” said Superintendent Dr. Alexis Kirijian.
School board directors hope to hold a public hearing on the tentative plan Monday.