MOON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — School districts in the region are resorting to teacher layoffs and building closures to make up for state funding cuts, but they are also reluctantly enlisting sheriff deputies to help bridge budget gaps.

The districts are now aggressively pursuing property tax delinquents and bringing them to sheriff’s sale.

Sheriff Deputy Jules Kaye posted a handful of sheriff sale notices initiated by the Moon Area School District, but countywide, the numbers are eye-popping.

In the upcoming September and October sheriff sales, school districts have brought actions against 96 homeowners in Allegheny County.

That includes 15 tax sales initiated by the Woodland Hills School District; 14 by Penn Hills, 9 by North Hills and eight by Carlynton.

Janet Burkardt of the Ira Weiss Law Firm, which represents several districts, says the schools have come to this point reluctantly.

“This is something that needs to be done,” she said. “It’s not a pleasant task, but in all fairness to everyone, it needs to be done.”

Burkhardt notes that people can avoid losing their homes by paying up their taxes, but she says those facing sheriff sales have already ignored repeated warnings and it may take the arrival of a sheriff deputy to get their attention.

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