Survey: More than half of Pa. school districts plan to make deeper cuts this fall
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School districts are making even deeper budget cuts for this fall than they did this fiscal year, according to a survey answered by 281 of the state's 500 school districts.
Nearly half of the responding districts said they will be in financial distress within three years if state and local funding doesn't get better.
The survey was released today and was conducted in late April by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.
"Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any relief in sight," Jay Himes, executive director of PASBO, said in a press release. "Without additional revenues or significant mandate relief, particularly from charter school costs, we will begin to see many more districts in financial distress, particularly when fund balances are depleted."
About 20 percent of the districts responded have reduced their fund balances by half or more in the past two years.
"The use of fund balances at this rate is simply not sustainable, and districts are susceptible to creating large structural deficits," Mr. Himes said in the release.
Three-fourths of those responding plan to furlough employees or not fill open positions in the fall. More than half reported a wage freeze in 2011-12.
Some of the cost reductions include larger class sizes and fewer classes in art, music, physical education, Advanced Placement and other electives. Some are delaying buying textbooks, and some are cutting back on field trips, extra-curricular activities, tutoring, summer school and full-day kindergarten.
"School districts are being forced to cut into core educational programs, creating greater obstacles for success both now and long into the future for many of Pennsylvania's 1.7 million students," PASA executive director Jim Buckheit said in a press release.
First Published May 22, 2012 11:47 am