School Districts Cut Programs To Balance Budget

By Jon Delano, KDKA Political Editor

BETHEL PARK (KDKA) — Unhappy students and parents protested the elimination of certain music programs in Bethel Park Wednesday night.

It’s a spring ritual likely to spread as school boards wrestle with how to balance budgets in the face of Governor Corbett’s education cuts.

“It’s significantly going to cut into programs and services,” says Jon Rupert, business manager for the Highlands School District.

Districts say they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Believe it or not, school districts are not allowed to lay off teachers for economic reasons to get a balanced budget. Instead, in order to furlough teachers, they must eliminate entire programs.

It’s a law that drives school administrators crazy.

“How do you come in with a budget that’s not negative to submit to the state when your hands are tied and you can’t eliminate just one person from a department or you cannot eliminate one person from a grade level,” Dr. Janet Sardon, West Mifflin Area superintendent, said.

Sardon says the current approach hurts education.

“Who eliminates the entire art department, but in the state we’re in and the financial circumstances that we’re in, we have to do something,” she said.

West Mifflin is laying off 52 employees, including 28 teachers, by eliminating programs like business classes, elementary instrumental music, French, and its Freshmen Academy.

“It just hurts us. How do you continue to run programs and continue to have good programs for children if that’s how you have to run, by eliminating everything versus just some?”

Now, Governor Corbett has proposed a bill that would let school districts furlough individual teachers for economic reasons without having to eliminate the entire department or program.

But that bill is still stuck in committee in the state legislature.

And school districts say they are running out of time — as balanced budgets are due in June.

RELATED STORIES
PA State Budget Analysis
Pitt Chancellor Talks State Budget’s Impact On University
Pitt Students Rally Against Budget Cuts

RELATED LINKS
West Mifflin School District
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett

Comments

One Comment

  1. redrock100 says:

    THERE IS NO MONEY STUPIDS

    1. boydoga says:

      Of course there would be if Nazi Corbett the child-hater would tax the oil drillers. “Economic” reasons for laying off teachers would amount to this – who ever made more would be let go. Also, local yocal polictics would rear its ugly head – school boards are totally corrupt. Sardon was a teacher and principle in another district, funny how she changes her tune to save her own overpaid ass.

  2. Dave says:

    > Believe it or not, school districts are not allowed to lay off teachers for economic reasons to get a balanced budget.

    I’m going to guess this is somehow a union rule…If so, I certainly can believe it…

    1. Over it all says:

      It’s actually a state law. Start there.

  3. Duckdaddy says:

    I dont think its a union rule. Thats the biggest problem with union jobs you tend to get laid off alot.

  4. critter says:

    It is a union rule meathead. Research.

    1. BTStevens says:

      The story above states that Governor Corbett has proposed a bill that would let school districts furlough individual teachers for economic reasons without having to eliminate the entire department or program because it is a state law.

  5. tocchet says:

    live within your means

  6. m says:

    bet they will leave everything alone with the football team though….

  7. Emma says:

    Cuts that kill education..it is through arts programs that students develop the right side of the brain…the side that deals with ethics, and problem solving, and goal setting, and creative decision making and moral behavior. Football which causes injuries, brain damage, aggression, and arrogance will never be cut. Football which serves a minor part of the population stays untouched.

    1. Emma hates dodgeball says:

      First of all, art is for kids that can’t play sports. Second of all, if you cut football, you are cutting marching band, cheerleading, dance squad, and all of the support services that students can participate in that revolves around the sport. And finally, athletics sends people to college. I know plenty of young men and women who have paid for their college education through athletics, cheerleading, and band. I can’t think of one person who recieved a scholarship for their fingerpainting abilities. Oh, and use some commas.

      1. TonO says:

        Nice to see low IQ redneck-jocks like you expressing their opinions about the fine arts.

        Of course you do use art supplies all the time, probably to sign your name.

      2. tonO says:

        I’m so thankful for your WONDERFUL attitude towards all the teachers that have helped you . By the way, I’m glad you see all art as “Fingerpainting.”

        What a stupid person you are.

      3. TonO says:

        I meant to say sign your name with a caryon.

      4. Judy says:

        If it wasn’t for the band, there wouldn’t be as many people at the football games! My kids were in band and we chaperoned. Football parents got into the games for free, we had to pay. It’s sad that our schools are playing up sports to the extent that they do. Yes sports are good, but the people who play them are not “gods”. Too many young people are looking up to their sports hero’s who can’t even put a simple sentence together that makes sense, least wise say a word correctly. Yes, athletics get kids into college, but what matters is what they do with that college education. The arts are important. What is the first thing you do when you get in your car? You put the radio on. If the schools don’t teach music, there will be no band at the football games, even the pro ones, there will be no music on the radio, and no concerts to go to. It would be a very quiet world.

      5. Jesse says:

        Your comments reflect your ignorance. I bet you live in a trailer too with your brother/husband. The number of kids that attend college that did not participate in athletics, far out numbers what you mentioned.

    2. Zoeyzotron says:

      Emma, where I do agree with you a little bit that the arts are important to learn, you still have to consider that football actually generates a positive cash flow in most districts.

  8. Susan says:

    If your kids can’t do…. its because the teachers got all the goods. Thats were the money went and thats how it goes. If they don’t get their way then they will simply strike. Just Say No to UNIONS

    1. BTStevens says:

      You can always send your kids to a charter school for free or pay to send them to a private school if either of those can afford it. The problem is shared by the state, school boards, and unions. The state cut the money for the school district programs. Another state law doesn’t allow school districts to raise enough local taxes to bring the programs back. Another state law doesn’t allow union teachers to strike past June. It’s disingenious of this story or the West Mifflin Superintendent to suggest that cutting 1-2 teachers or 1 from each grade level would have saved three programs and 28 other teacher jobs.

  9. Jack Best says:

    The plain fact is there is no money. Seniors can pay no more taxes, the working family can pay no more and raise their family. something has to be cut, but don’t cut what I like , just other things. Until thatproblem is solved we have a problem.

    1. BTStevens says:

      Three ways to raise revenue without losing jobs would be to 1) raise the MArcellus Shale extraction tax from 0% to Montana’s 0.76%, the lowest in the US, 2) raise the cigar and smokeless tobacco tax to 7%, the lowest of any neighboring state that someone may drive to, and 3) eliminate the vendor sales tax discount.

  10. Zoeyzotron says:

    Funny…. That the over compensated teachers in PA, that “care so much” have not offered to talk about their budget draining BENEFITS…..

    Until the UNION realizes what it has done the situation will be hopeless.

    1. jeeperz says:

      Zoey – Actually the school boards are also to blame, dont just pin it on the teachers. You seem to be a big fan of that from reading your other posts.

    2. Tommieboy says:

      Over compensated only by your standard idoit. Many tachers, especailly rural ones and in poorer school districts do not start very high ($27,000 ot do). It takes many years to get to the “jump step.” What do you know about teaching? You’re probably a HATER republican red neck Palin fan.

  11. bob says:

    it’s sad!! the teacher’s union does not get it or care about it,,,just give them the money…who would not like the having the summers off.. They have to understand it can not stay as “business as usual” They need to have a contract that everyone could live with…..

    1. BTStevens says:

      I don’t think a lot of people would like teaching even with the summers off. Otherwise they would have gone into teaching after college and gotten a job because there’s a teacher shortage nationally. Most college grads don’t do that because they make more per hour than teachers.

    2. jeeperz says:

      Actually Bob. many school districts are asking teachers to take a freeze on wages as well. You should blane the school boards in the first place because they are the ones allowing new sports complexes such as stadiums and fieldhouses to be built when they are supposed to know what money they have and what money is coming in.

      And besides, if teaching was so easy why doesnt everyone want to do it?

    3. blame teachers for corporate greed says:

      Well the good news is that the Delaware tax loophole (allows Corbett’s corporate buddies to avoid paying taxes) is still in place. That HAS TO BE the UNION”S fault!! I’m sure the teachers have to be behind this!! Closing this loophole would generate an estimated $500 million in revenue.

      In more good news (probably also the UNION’S fault) Corbett contributor, Marcellus Shale continues to pay no tax on drilling in PA. Another estimated $200-$400 million lost.

      Let’s blame teachers and UNION’S though because we all know they are behind this corporate welfare.

  12. 1-2-3 says:

    Just have those that want the programs pay for them if its not part of the School approved cirriculum.

  13. Judy Hartman says:

    I think they should cut out some of the football programs. I never knew the football players and their parents got so many perks. As a band parent, I had to pay my way into each and every game that I did not chaperone. I found out years after my kids graduated that the football parents got in for free, all the time! Football people never have to want for anything. Amazingly there is always more than enough money in the budget for sports. My daughter teaches music and band and the band doesn’t even have a budget for anything for band. Their instruments are old and can’t be used, they desperately need new ones. My daughter has had to have fund raisers for anythng they need for the band program. What’s even sadder is that it is proven that the kids involved in music have higher test scores and are higher achievers. Look at the national football players, most don’t speak right and very few can put together a sentence.

  14. Judy says:

    @Jeeperz…my daughter has been teaching for 8 years. She makes $30,000 a year. I want to know how that is over compensated? People who have been taught by teachers make more than teachers do!!! If it wasn’t for teachers, there would be no other profession. They have to teach kids and teach them manners, while being threatened by half of them. They should make a lot more plus combat pay.

    1. jeeperz says:

      Judy. You missed my point. If you reread my posts, I am on the teachers side with this. I have NEVER stated that teachers were over compensated.

      On all of these message boards, you hear people claiming that the teachers never work a full 8 hour day and they have summers off and its not a difficult job for being, as many say, overcompensated with good pay and great perks. If these people think that being a teacher is so easy, why arent they in the profession?

      Teachers should not have to teach kids manners, respect or how to dress. Its time to stop blaming the teachers for everything from too much homework to not spoon feeding “little Billy” the answers to a test to making sure their pants actually fit.

  15. Corporate welfare says:

    Well the good news is that the Delaware tax loophole (allows Corbett’s corporate buddies to avoid paying taxes) is still in place. That HAS TO BE the UNION”S fault!! I’m sure the teachers have to be behind this!! Closing this loophole would generate an estimated $500 million in revenue.

    In more good news (probably also the UNION’S fault) Corbett contributor, Marcellus Shale continues to pay no tax on drilling in PA. Another estimated $200-$400 million lost.

    Let’s blame teachers and UNION’S though because we all know they are behind this corporate welfare.

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