The new school year is starting in Pennsylvania.

Usually the biggest concern –

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Is reminding drivers to slow down in school zones –

To watch for children crossing streets –

And to wait for stopped school buses.

This year there’s another concern –

Money.

School districts haven’t received any state funding –

Since Pennsylvania’s budget expired June 30th.

Some districts have “rainy day” funds that can tide them over –

But many don’t have that luxury.

The lack of cash is particularly dire –

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For districts that are already financially strapped.

It’s going to be tough for them to borrow money –

Just to pay salaries –

And keep the lights on –

Until Governor Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders –

Stop running with scissors –

And start playing well with each other.

It’s a little hard to be excited about the new school year –

When you don’t know how long it will last.

The budget impasse probably won’t cause long-term damage to schools –

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But it was avoidable – and it is inexcusable.