by Nathan Mains
Students and educators may be ready for the return to the classroom, but it appears that the Pennsylvania state budget will be tardy when the bell rings. Despite weeks of negotiations, the budget is almost two months late — a major cause of concern for school districts who must figure out how to cover operational costs before knowing what funding they will receive.
As the budget impasse continues, school districts’ expenses continue to rise for pensions, health care and utilities — all costs that are out of districts’ control. Total employer pension contributions for 2015-16 equal 25.84 percent, marking the fifth year of planned increases under Act 120 of 2010. And those numbers are slated to climb to a staggering rate of 32.2 percent by 2019-20.
Our school districts work hard to be fiscally responsible and save for projected and unexpected needs. But once the school year begins, cash reserves will quickly run dry. With increasing costs threatening already fragile budgets, more schools will need to consider taking out loans to make payroll and keep doors open, adding interest accrual to those overall expenses.
Full Story: State budget tardy for beginning of school year, and that hurts Pennsylvania students: Nathan Mains, Pennlive.com Op-Ed, 08/14/15