State: Scranton Teacher Layoffs Not Allowed

SCRANTON -- The Scranton School Board may have broken state rules when it voted to lay off more than 50 teachers, according to a letter sent to the school district from the governor's office in Harrisburg.

Lawyers for Governor Tom Wolf say the Scranton School Board didn't pass its 2018 budget in time to allow for teacher layoffs this year but, the board already voted to lay off 51 teachers in order to save money.

Now it looks like those teachers' jobs may stay after all.

A strongly worded letter from Harrisburg may derail the Scranton School District's plan for financial recovery.

The letter from the governor's office of general counsel says lawyers "strongly recommend" the district reverse a decision to layoff teachers.

It appears the Scranton School Board had their timing off. The letter cites a state school code which says in order to lay off teachers, a school district needs to pass a budget by December 31 of the previous year.

Scranton still does not have a 2018 budget passed but school directors have contended that they had extra time until April 1 to pass a budget, a benefit of being under state financial watch.

The letter points out that the extended deadline doesn't exist.

"There was no homework done or they would have known they were violating the school code. It's easy enough to read, 1124 is not complicated language. They could have read the code and realized after umpteen years as the Scranton School District is December 31. They should have realized that," said Rosemary Boland, president of Scranton's teachers' union.

Boland says the state's letter saves teachers' jobs for this year and buys the union time to find another financial solution.

"We're hoping to make good use of it," Boland said. "We want to sit down, which is what should have happened in the first place. All the stakeholders should have had a meeting, more than a meeting, to figure out what to do to move forward."

The Scranton School Board, in a statement sent to Newswatch 16, said that it is following state school code. Board members say the state was well aware of Scranton's plan to lay off teachers and that the board had permission to pass a balanced budget later this year. The Scranton School Board and the district superintendent have requested a meeting in Harrisburg to clear everything up.

26 comments

  • SCRANTONVILLE

    When the State Auditor Gen. said the Scranton School directors have to “get their heads our of their asses” , he didnt realize the folks in LACKEY-WANNA County know that’s impossible. They’re so full of s*** there’s no room in their added for their heads… Tom

    • You Can't Handle The Truth

      Written like a “Scranun” grad. Grammar, spelling, sentence construction? And, sadly, you don’t even know it.

  • matt edwards

    bet you didn’t even see the strings making wolf dance. they were worked by the psea. dance like a puppet tommy for the unionnnnnnnn! dance tommy dance. in the back pocket of the psea ! corrupt union. now the citizens in scranton will have to ante up to pay off the corrupt teachers union !

  • pot smoker

    Wow . Removed comment for Scranton to declare bankruptcy and let Wolfe come in and fix his mess , Why isn’t anyone in JAIL over this MASS FRAUD of Govt funds ?

  • You Can't Handle The Truth

    State: Make cuts to balance the budget or we are coming in to take over!!
    State: Uhh, yea, about those cuts. You can’t lay off teachers.
    State: Why did you not comply with our directive?
    State: Sorry Teachers, we took over and looked at the books and we will have to lay off 150 of you.

  • Ben

    I’m sorry, but the state cannot allow for an extension to the 31 Dec deadline, and then say it doesn’t exist. The state clearly and very publicly granted the Scranton School Board an extension to pass their budget, and it isn’t a great leap to assume within that extended period of time the school board would still fall under the same rules and regulations as if it were operating normally. This is a political move done by the Governor, and whether you agree with the firing of the teachers or not it’s hard to imagine anyone successfully challenging their firings because of what’s in this letter.

  • Betty

    Thank goodness the children won’t suffer this year ! There are other ways to handle this which wouldn’t hurt the children or tax payers like myself . Like the bus contracts etc.

  • Flabbergasted

    Is the District begging for the state to take over!? How can they be so incompetent!? After the terrible audit they received you think they would have done their best but now they just look more ridiculous. The state even tried to help them out and they didn’t even use one suggestion, they made up their own plan which turned out to be illegal making them appear more clueless than before. All the time and money wasted on those meetings and paying attorneys that can’t even guide them in the right direction!

      • LOL

        Yes, Trump is the personification of fiscal responsibility. :P It’s tough supporting someone with no real agenda beyond big money tax breaks. You never know what to be outraged about because you never know when he might flip on any given topic. For over a year he denied Russia had any impact on our election. Now, he’s saying it’s a huge issue, but it’s Obama’s fault.

      • You Can't Handle The Truth

        Trump does not care if he is re-elected. Obama was a smooth used car salesman who smiled the entire time he was cutting the guts out of this country.

  • Silverfish Imperetrix

    I saw this coming but didn’t know how they’d pull it off. Get ready to grab your ankles again, homeowners.

  • 1 + 1 = 3

    “There was no homework done or they would have known they were violating the school code. It’s easy enough to read, 1124 is not complicated language. They could have read the code and realized after umpteen years as the Scranton School District is December 31. They should have realized that,” said Rosemary Boland, president of Scranton’s teachers’ union.” Apparently Boland didn’t know it either or she would have been shouting it at those hearings last month.

  • Oh

    This is outrageous. You tell them to take action and they do, and now you say no. The state just needs to take this over at this point. There is no fixing this hot mess.

    • Silverfish Imperetrix

      The teachers are nearly all Democrats themselves, so basically they elect their own bosses and are rewarded when they get elected. It’s a vicious cycle and the taxpayers foot the bill.

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