PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — News that Pennsylvania will have a budget because Gov. Tom Wolf will allow the GOP version to become law came just the nick of time for some school districts and social service groups.
“It’s been very, very difficult,” said Dr. Linda Hippert, the executive director at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, which works closely with school districts.
She says at least 10 districts in Allegheny County alone have had to borrow money just to keep things going. She also says programs have been cut as a result of the impasse.
“After-school programs, tutoring programs that just aren’t part of the regular school day have been deterred or eliminated completely,” said Dr. Hippert.
Just this week, the East Allegheny School District announced it had no money to pay its teachers beyond this Friday, so today’s news from Harrisburg is good.
“We’re somewhat relieved because we’ve been monitoring it day to day,” said Dr. Hippert. “I know some of the districts – some of them very, very desperate – just needed to get this money from Harrisburg.”
However, Gov. Wolf won’t actually put his signature on the budget because he says it’s not balanced and that it underfunds education.
“This means schools will stay open until the end of this year,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “But unless Harrisburg changes its ways, they won’t have adequate funds for next year.”
It’s not just schools that have been struggling, so have groups that provide social services.
Small Seeds Development helps 1,400 families in Allegheny County with at-risk children.
And as for a budget finally taking effect: “It allows us the breathe a little bit easier,” said Andrew Cheeseboro from Small Seeds.
“We still have a lot of work to do, and again, we’re very appreciative that the Allegheny County Department of Human Services has helped many of the nonprofits here,” said Cheeseboro.
Now that the budget for 2015-2016 is finally taken care of, it’s already time to work on the 2016-2017 budget. That’s due June 30.