PA Budget Impasse
I am not sure how much you follow the developments in Harrisburg but Pennsylvania State Budget is still not approved yet! Typically, the State budget gets approved July 1st of the year and all the appropriations are made on a timely fashion. Eight and a half months later our State still does not have a budget. The reason I want to share this is to show how much I appreciate our situation, and to help spread the gratitude we must feel for our circumstances. Luckily State College Area School District, which about 65% of our enrolled students are from, continued to send tuition payments in full except with only 18% deduction for some parts of the majority of the 8.5 months I mentioned. Most other school districts that we receive students from did continue to pay. We planned for contingencies through the fund balance we built over the years and through other means in case we need them. Other parts of the State were not as lucky. I have read horror stories especially about charter schools. Some school districts did not send any payments to charter schools. Some charter schools decided to operate on 4 day weeks to reduce cost. Others cut programs and positions while some asked staff to work with them during these difficult months either by working without pay or for a lower pay until the budget gets approved. Some schools are on the verge of bankruptcy and may close if the budget discussions continue to linger further. The most ironic thing is that the main reason for Governor Wolfe's insistence in not approving earlier budget proposals was because he wants to increase education funding! Unfortunately 8.5 months after this decision schools suffered from the extended budget negotiations. Everyone hopes to be in a much better shape once the budget gets approved. The biggest obstacle was for schools that are in school districts which are state fund dependent. State College Area School District together with other area districts are not very state fund dependent. This is one reason why we did not suffer the pain as much. I am very grateful that we are not in the situation of the schools that suffered throughout the state. I feel blessed that this is just a learning experience for us.