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Rep. Schlossberg commits to helping ASD with budget woes

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 14 2014 09:06:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 14 2014 09:57:56 PM CDT

A budget deficit of $10.6-million has officials in the Allentown School District looking to slash almost 130 positions.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A budget deficit of $10.6-million has officials in the Allentown School District looking to slash almost 130 positions.

It's the fourth straight year jobs are on the line.

"First thought was, here we go again."

State Representative Mike Schlossberg says the Allentown School District has chopped 20 percent of its teachers over the last four years.

More positions are on the line this time around.

"There's a total of about 100 cuts," explained Superintendent Dr. Russ Mayo.

He says it breaks down to 74 teachers, 10 classroom assistants, 12 clerical staffers and four administrators.

An additional 29 teaching jobs could be at risk, but officials hope a one-time grant will keep them safe.

"If that grant doesn't cover those positions then we'll have to cut 103 teaching positions, it just won't be the 74," shared Mayo.

The proposed cuts would save about $6-million and would actually bring staffing ratios in line with decreasing student enrollment.

No programs are on the line, but officials want to raise local taxes by 3.2 percent.

"Once again Allentown's back is to the wall," added Schlossberg. "And once again we have to do everything we can to try and restore those funding cuts."

Last budget cycle, Schlossberg and Senator Pat Brown were able to get ASD an additional $9.6-million from the state, an effort Schlossberg says they will take up again this year.

"Education isn't spending, it's an investment," he said. "Every dollar that we put into education is less money later down the line that we're going to have to put into unemployment, and welfare and prisons."

The majority of the district's budget comes from the state.

As of right now, both ASD and the governor's budget's are still only proposals.

"We're very much at the beginning of the budget process right now," Schlossberg described. "There's a long way to go before we finish and a lot of fighting and arguing and begging and pleading to be done."