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SCRANTON SCHOOL BOARD STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF PROPOSED 2018 BUDGET

SCRANTON SCHOOL BOARD STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF PROPOSED 2018 BUDGET

This evening the Scranton School Board passed a Proposed Budget for 2018. With passage of this proposed budget, the Scranton School District now has ninety additional days to take a closer look at options and work through scenarios in order to pass a final, balanced budget by April 1, 2018. This ongoing budget process is critical for the District as it seeks to achieve sustainable finances and meet the Board’s ultimate mission of providing excellent education to the children of Scranton.

From speaking with a range of advisors, policymakers and veterans of districts with similar financial pictures, the Board understands that we must make difficult decisions in order to avoid ceding local control of the District. There is not one Board Director that wants to see expenditure cuts to the District; however, it is up to the Board to take the responsible, necessary steps now to address the structural deficit and stave off what would be a painful receivership process.

The Board acknowledges that errors were made in past years that contributed to part of the current deficit. The Board’s Solicitor has publicly stated that there is ongoing litigation regarding some of these matters; for others, the Board and its Solicitor are exploring options to remedy past situations. The Solicitor is in direct contact with the District’s transportation providers; additionally, PFM is conducting a review of transportation contracts and will assist in identifying cost savings moving forward.

The ability of the Scranton School District to respond to and govern effectively through this crisis rests not just with this Board, but with the willingness of all stakeholders to come together to find solutions. The Board appreciates the concessions that many staff members and vendors have already made, and will continue to pursue savings from all entities with which we do business.

The Board looks forward to continuing to work with Superintendent Alexis Kirijan, the District administration, the Scranton Federation of Teachers, our PFM consultants and the Pennsylvania Department of Education in these critical ninety days ahead. Our success depends on a focused, united effort.