Aliquippa and Wilkinsburg districts put on financial watch list

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The State Department of Education put Wilkinsburg and Aliquippa school districts on a financial watch list today, which is meant to identify and offer assistance to school districts in financial distress.

The financial watch list was created by Act 141--a state law passed last year--as part of an "Early Warning System" for designating school districts struggling to make ends meet.

Wilkinsburg was placed on the list partly because of a $3 million loan approved by the school board February 26th, according to a letter sent to board president Karen Payne from the State Department of Education.

The letter also cited high millage rates as a reason to place Wilkinsburg on the watch list.

When asked at the time why the school district requested the loan, acting superintendent Archie Perrin said, "[The loan] is not designed to make us solvent. It's designed to get us through a period."

The Aliquippa school district was also placed on the list because of significant financial difficulties ranging from a projected $725,000 cash shortfall to outstanding debt, which was 228 percent of expenditures at the end of the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

The state also added Reading School District in Berks County and Sheelton-Highspire School District in Dauphin County to the list of school districts on the financial watch list.

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Alex Zimmerman:

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