CARBONDALE -- After nearly nine months, the state budget impasse is at an end, or is it?
Governor Wolf says he will allow a Republican spending plan to become law, but he is warning that the real challenge is the 2016-17 budget that is due July 1.
Until the governor's announcement Wednesday, schools across the state were in jeopardy of closing. That crisis has been averted, but according to folks at Carbondale Area School District in Lackawanna County, this is only a temporary fix.
"You know, it's just hurting the kids, they're the ones suffering,” said Christopher Lasavage, a track coach in the district.
Without a state budget, Carbondale Area was in crisis this school year. There were stacks of unpaid bills and rumors the school would have to close and cancel sports and extracurricular activities. The district contemplated a class-action lawsuit against the state for failing to fund education.
“It may be a problem next year as well. Why wouldn't they just pass it in July instead of waiting?" said student Adam Rossetti.
District officials say they had to borrow $2 million to keep the lights on in the district, so there is some relief that there's finally a budget.
"I'm happy because it's not like, we're not going to shut down. We're going to have money to do activities and stuff,” said student Julia Kelly.
District superintendent Joseph Gorham gave Newswatch 16 the following statement:
"This news is not good news. It simply kicks the can down the road once again, and it doesn't address the need for a fully funded formula which is the only answer to the Commonwealth's education crisis."
Governor Wolf is warning there could be serious problems with the 2016-17 budget. Work on that budget is expected to start next week.
"It's all about the kids, the kids have to know that they're going to school, and if the government doesn't think it's important the kids should be in school, why should the kids care that they should be in school? I was all confused about them starting the budget for next year and not passing last year's budget, so there's always going to be arguing and fighting in the government. There's nothing we can do. The kids have to go to school,” said Tim Rossetti, a parent in the district.
Carbondale Area School District officials say they're worried the budget will be late yet again this year, putting them in the same dire straits in the fall.