ShareThis Page
Norwin talks school closures as Pennsylvania budget deadlock drags on |

Norwin talks school closures as Pennsylvania budget deadlock drags on

| Friday, December 18, 2015 10:18 p.m

Norwin School District officials said Friday they will be forced to borrow money or close schools in early 2016 if the state budget impasse isn’t resolved.

“Neither decision is one the school district wants to make, and we have not committed to any of these options,” said Robert Perkins, school board president.

The school board is continuing to discuss what to do, he added.

“We are being forced to consider these because of the elected officials who refuse to compromise and provide proper funding. The time has come for school districts to send a strong message to Harrisburg,” Perkins said.

The state’s fiscal year started July 1, but a protracted stalemate between the Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf has resulted in no budget and the funding it contains for schools and other agencies.

About 5,200 students attend Norwin schools. The district has a $65.9 million budget and received about $15 million as a basic state subsidy payment in 2013-14.

The district has been using revenues raised locally to operate, but those funds are estimated to run out in February, said John Wilson, director of business affairs.

“The district’s goal is to avoid borrowing funds over the remainder of the fiscal year,” Wilson said. “However, as we all know, without a regular revenue stream to count on and the lack of a state budget, borrowing is not out of the question at this point.”

Superintendent William Kerr said he dislikes the options the school board must consider.

“None of these options are really good options,” he said. “We don’t want to close schools, but we are prepared to do so because the state elected officials have failed in their duty to provide funding for public education.”

Dr. Jason A. Conway, Westmoreland Intermediate Unit executive director, said all 17 member school districts are affected by the lack of a budget and a discussion among them is needed.

“This is not just an individual school district raising the issue,” Conway said. “As an intermediate unit, we’ve been hearing many concerns from our member school districts, and this may be the only way to get the attention of the state’s decision makers.”

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

Categories: Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.