PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — School districts and human services agencies are breathing a sigh of relief as 2015 ends.
The state Treasurer says the check is in the mail.
“By the middle of next week, schools, local governments, and a lot of the human services organizations that haven’t got their payments due to the impasse will start to see the money hit their accounts,” Treasury spokesman Scott Sloat told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Thursday.
While Governor Wolf vetoed $7 billion from what he called a ‘pretend garbage’ budget approved by Republican lawmakers, Wolf did approve some funding for social services and schools — just in time.
“Several school districts are on the verge of closing their doors as you know and have done stories on before. Other districts have used or depleted their reserves,” says Patrick Sable, who served as business manager for at least three schools districts and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.
Treasury staff are working over the holiday weekend to get the $3.3 billion out quickly.
“We’ve received approximately 16,400 payment requests from the governor’s budget office,” says Sloat, “and so we’ve been able to work with them ahead of time to pre-audit those payments which will allow us to expedite the payment.”
Sable says districts are expecting “a large lump sum wire to each of the school districts so the money is transmitted as soon as they can possibly can to put it into their hands for utilization.”
Sources tell KDKA that Allegheny County’s Human Services Department expects close to $100 million that will be pumped out as quickly as possible to agencies that have gone unpaid for months.
For school districts, in particular, there is still a problem — no agreement yet by lawmakers and the governor on a basic education budget for the next six months.
“The House and Senate still have work to do with the governor on finalizing the budget,” notes Sable.
And if the stalemate continues, Sable says some districts could be in the same predicament by March.
“The funds that are being appropriated still are not sufficient to meet the needs of school districts and their operating needs,” adds Sable.