Wilkinsburg school board approves $3 million loan
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The Wilkinsburg school board voted Tuesday night to borrow $3 million to keep the district running for the rest of the year, a decision that has left some board members wondering if there is a plan to pay it back.
Tiffany Lumpkin, LaTonya Washington and Shannon Bennett all voted against the loan, saying the money does not address the district's long-standing financial problems.
"It's like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound," Ms. Lumpkin said. "We need a plan that will stop the bleeding."
Philip Martell, the district's assistant business manager, said the money "will be used for everything" including general operating expenses.
Acting superintendent Archie Perrin and the district's business manager, Bruce Dakan, have both said the loan is needed to maintain cash flow.
"This is not designed to make us solvent," Mr. Perrin said. "It's designed to get us through a period."
The loan narrowly passed, 6-3, with six votes needed, according to Ms. Bennett.
When asked what would have happened if the loan had been rejected, Ms. Bennett said, "I really don't know."
State department of education spokesman Tim Eller said the state is aware of Wilkinsburg's financial problems and is "always willing to provide technical assistance if it is requested by a school district."
It is not clear if there will be any state intervention in Wilkinsburg. Mr. Eller said the department is still analyzing data submitted by the districts.
Bernie Wetzel, a community member who attended Wilkinsburg public schools, expressed skepticism that the district will resolve its budget problems.
"It could very well be a year from now, two years from now that we face the same thing," he said.
First Published February 26, 2013 9:54 pm