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Reading School District continues budget battle

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Jun 20 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 20 2012 11:57:06 PM CDT

The Reading School District has just one week to figure out how to fill its massive multi-million dollar deficit.

READING, Pa. -

The Reading School District has just one week to figure out how to fill its massive multi-million dollar deficit. The school board met Wednesday night to discuss the details of what they will have to vote on next week.

The school district has already announced they will be cutting staff, but teachers came out to hear if there will be more cuts.

"For all the employees in the district to Bob and the committee is it my understanding," said Bob Heebner, Vice President of the Reading School District, "Is it correct that there are no further cuts to personnel planned other than what's already on the table?"

Heebner said he wants to be crystal clear about what he says is a big issue, teacher layoffs.

"They're shaking their heads yes, said Heebner, "I just wanted to make sure everyone got that message."

The district's budget calls for massive layoffs, including 110 teaching positions. It also includes school closings and cuts to programs like Pre-K. But even with the layoffs and cuts, officials said they still need to find more than 14 million more dollars to close the gap.

One of the solutions being offered is a withdrawal from the fund balance or the rainy day fund. The school board will have to take action next Wednesday.

School board member James Washington said he doesn't want to find out about additional reductions at the last minute.

"I don't know if the intent is for us to learn about that on Monday, but I certainly don't want to get them all on Wednesday for the first time," said Washington.

The school board president said more numbers will be revealed on Monday night. She added she's confident the deficit will be less than $14 million. She said if the school board agreed to tap the rainy day fund for $14 million it would almost wipe it out.