Carbondale Area School Board Votes to Furlough Teachers

CARBONDALE, Pa. -- It was a long, emotional school board meeting for the Carbondale Area School District, sometimes getting heated during the nearly five-hour meeting.

The school board voted 5-3 to furlough six teachers Sunday afternoon. Not everyone on the board agreed it was the right thing to do.

"The inner turmoil I face, I will vote my conscience," said Dr. Paul Kaczmarcik, board secretary.

But board president Dr. Gary Smedley says the state shoulders part of the blame.

"We as a board and administration did our part, but I said in the April meeting if you want to see our school fairly funded, contact your representative in Harrisburg," Smedley said.

The Carbondale Area Education Association says losing 10% of its staff is devastating.

"We think it's going to be absolutely devastating and is going to make it very difficult to provide a high-quality education here at Carbondale Area," said Larry Gabriel, Carbondale Area Education Association.

Parents who addressed the board say they are concerned about the education their children will be receiving.

"This is our children's future. I don't want my children stuck in 61% poverty for the rest of their lives, and I can guarantee anybody here feels the same way," said one parent.

Teachers also expressed worry for their students.

"You are completely taking the floorboards right out from under this district," said history teacher Thomas Evans.

One job was saved: athletic director and trainer, but he later shocked the crowd by offering his resignation which allowed the district to pass its budget.

In the end, six teachers and the curriculum directors were furloughed to help cut costs. The athletic director did offer his resignation, which the board accepted, and the district now has an operating budget in place for the new school year that begins July 1.

8 comments

  • Joe Ro (@JoeRo622)

    LOL @ the people criticizing the teachers for demanding fair pay. If we ALL demanded fair pay instead of letting wages stagnate for 40 years, our school taxes would go a lot further without raising the tax rate. The money would go to our local businesses and communities instead of the Cayman Island tax havens of a handful of billionaires.

  • greekgeek1955

    Teachers to district: “Can’t afford to raise taxes? Screw you. Pay us. Can’t afford our bloated salaries and pensions? Screw you. Pay us. Can’t get state funding? Screw you. Pay us.”

    • savescrantonhistory

      It’s like these unions for public workers have become the new mafia. At least their members aren’t going out and demanding money directly from taxpayers…..yet.

  • RLW1958

    This should surprise no one. Cuts to Federal taxes hurt rural America much harder than urban and city areas. The Federal funding for Rural and Low Income Areas is less than half of what it was in 2012. In 2012 Pa. received $1.6 million, compared to $515,000 this year. That is less than half. To make up the difference, local school boards are forced to increase the local taxes and that still does not meet the needs. Rural schools have higher operating costs. Think about how many miles of driving it takes to get rural kids to school, and then compare that to the cost of urban kids to walking to school. Rural people who vote Republican vote against their own interests and can’t figure out why they keep falling behind. The Pa. state gas tax is essentially another tax on rural people who have to drive more miles for everything they do. Wake up people.

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