Allentown
52° F
Overcast
Overcast

Job cuts, tax hike part of proposed budget for Easton Area School District

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 15 2014 04:00:15 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 06:01:29 PM CST

Many school districts have been having a tough time paying the bills lately.

EASTON, Pa. -

Do tax hikes and job cuts sound familiar? A lot of school districts have been having a tough time paying the bills lately.

Now, Easton is singing the budget blues. Dozens of teaching jobs and a tax increase of nearly three percent are what's on the line.

Fifty-six jobs are on the line as the school board faces a $5 million deficit.

"To hear 56 that made your heart drop a little bit," said Frank Pintabone, president, Easton Area School Board. "But again, it’s just worst-case scenario recommendations.”

The district's superintendent, John Reinhart, said proposing the cuts is difficult. The board is also looking at another tax increase.

If the cuts become a reality, it could be a hard sell to the parents of students in the district.

“How do you go to the public and how do you sell a program where the potential for 30 to 34 students in a class is very real K to 8,” added Reinhart.

Before the final budget is approved, administration and board members vow to do everything they can to avoid what they call drastic, but necessary measures.

In a memo to the school board, Reinhart proposed selling the administration building, closing an elementary school and possibly selling the Easton Area Academy building.

Reinhart said pulling money from the reserve fund is not an option.

“We’re down to the nuts and bolts, to the meat and potatoes of who we are and what we are doing,” said Reinhart.

“I know, as the board president, I have extended an invitation to the teachers' union," added Pintabone. "They agreed to sit down and talk to me. We’re going to open the lines of communication." 

69 News reached out to the Easton Area Education Association for a comment from the teachers union. So far, we have not received a response.

The board has five months before a final budget needs to be approved.