Early Allentown School Budget Focuses On Hefty Layoffs, Tax Hike

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If there was any doubt that the Allentown School District will impose layoffs as itgrapples with a $10.6 million shortfall next year, those doubts were all but erased tonight.

The school board considered a preliminary budget that could be described — officials hope — as a worst-case scenario: a $6.1 million cut to salaries, and a 9 percent property tax increase.

Those will almost certainly change by the time the final budget is passed in June. A preliminary budget is required this month by state law, and it must be balanced, so the district includes cuts to satisfy that deadline and then changes them later.

But if the $6.1 million salaries cut stays in place, with a district average salary of $65,000, it could mean at least 94 jobs getting eliminated, school union President Debra Tretter said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/01/early_allentown_school_budget.html#incart_m-rpt-1

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Daniel Boone SD Looks At Drastic Measures – Again

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were no shocked gasps or yelling this time when Dr. Gary L. Otto, Daniel Boone School District superintendent, went through the proposed cuts to balance the 2014-15 budget.

In fact, when it came time for public comment during Wednesday’s school board finance committee meeting, only three residents from the crowd of 50 asked questions, none of which was specifically about the list of cuts.

That’s because the big reveal was nothing new.

The list of potential cuts is almost a carbon copy of what the board discussed during the budget process last year.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=519157

Clarion To Suspend Programs, Cut Jobs To Close $8 Million Deficit

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Clarion County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Clarion County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clarion University of Pennsylvania on Monday announced it will suspend two degree programs, eliminate 42.75 positions and launch several new programs in an effort to plug an $8 million budget deficit that could balloon to $12 million by 2015.

University President Karen Whitney said the moves are designed to position the state-owned university for the future following several years of sharp declines in enrollment and state subsidies.

“At the forefront of this plan is for our students to graduate and succeed in their professional careers, thanks to the marketable skills they learn at Clarion,” Whitney said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/4960880-74/education-clarion-programs#ixzz2j2581ntI
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Mansfield University Announces Layoffs

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Tioga County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Tioga County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mansfield University plans to cut up to 29 full-time faculty positions and 25 administrative jobs due to a projected $14.3 million shortfall over the next two years, the school said Thursday. It blamed enrollment declines over the past three years and reduced state support.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=514674

East Strousdburg University Considers Cuts In Staff, Programs

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facing a potential $7.6 million operating deficit, East Stroudsburg University officials say faculty and program cuts could be looming.

They will have a better idea once the university’s 2013-14 budget is finalized, said Kenn Marshall, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which oversees the 14-state-owned universities, including ESU.

Student tuition and fees account for about three-quarters of ESU’s revenue, but calculating true enrollment figures isn’t straightforward, Marshall said.

During the first few weeks of classes, students can drop out or enroll late.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/esu-considers-cuts-in-staff-programs-0915-20130915,0,5311635.story#ixzz2f0sxuRWX
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Clarion University To Dissolve College Of Education

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Clarion County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Clarion County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clarion University plans to let go up to 40 employees campuswide — including 22 faculty — and dissolve its college of education under a broad restructuring intended to offset sharply lower state aid, rising costs and enrollment losses.

The job cuts are part of a two-year workforce plan that university president Karen Whitney and other administrators say was drafted to help Clarion correct budget problems and position the state-owned university with 6,500 students for the future.

The plan discusses areas where Clarion intends to add resources, among them nursing, and other areas recommended for elimination, including music education. It says departments and programs within Clarion’s College of Education and Human Services would be reorganized into other schools.

The idea is to ensure that Clarion by July 1, 2015, can meet future challenges and “continue serving students, employers and community partners as a public university,” the 32-page document states.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/clarion-u-to-dissolve-college-of-education-699536/#ixzz2c9UiRE6d

Reading School District’s Bond Rating Dropped

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Reading School District has faced some major financial challenges lately, and it’s not going unnoticed.

Citing budget struggles and a $15 million accounting mistake discovered last year, Moody’s Investors Service, a major credit-rating firm, has lowered two district bond ratings by two levels.

Moody’s announced last week the district’s underlying general obligation rating was lowered to Baa2 from A3, and its enhanced rating was lowered to A3 from A1.

The outlook for both ratings, a release from Moody’s says, is negative.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=502171

Police Cuts Talk Of 2 Luzerne County Towns

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two municipalities facing budget shortfalls are exploring options to ease their finances by cutting police services.

Edwardsville Mayor Bernard “Ace” Dubaskas said council members are talking about reducing the number of full-time officers, while Laflin council members are considering contracting with a neighboring municipality for police protection.

Cutting police services is not a new concept for cash-strapped municipalities.

Warrior Run disbanded its police force in favor of contracting police services from Nanticoke two years ago.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/741394/Police-cuts-talk-of-2-towns

Corbett Offers $140 Million For Philly Schools

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part of that story includes the rescue package Corbett outlined Sunday for Philadelphia’s financially beleaguered school district, though parts of that too, still await legislative approval.

The governor told The Inquirer he backed a plan that would help raise $140 million for the School District in the next fiscal year to help prevent the doomsday scenario district officials have said would unfold without financial assistance.  The district faces a $304 million deficit and has sent layoff notices to 3,859 teachers and staff.

But the governor was banking on more than just an on-time budget this year.  Facing reelection in 2014, and trying to turn the tide of sagging poll numbers, Corbett had pushed an aggressive agenda and urged legislators to address it together with the annual budget.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130701_ett_endorses.html#kk0Wb8ECx92pXBYK.99

Reading School Board Uses Deep Staff Cuts To Balance Budget

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Reading School District‘s long and winding road to closing a more than $13 million gap in its 2013-14 budget has finally come to an end.
In a process fraught with frustrations, surprises and boiling tempers, the final act provided more of the same.

Apologizing to the staff, students and public for an experience they called “deficient,” “baffling” and “sad,” the Reading School Board approved the $213.6 million spending plan Friday night at the end of a 4 1/2-hour meeting.  But not without some fireworks first.

Coming into the night, the district was already faced with a more than $300,000 deficit after deciding Wednesday night not to cut kindergarten to half-day and not to raise the property tax from its current rate of 16.92 mills.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=489178

Allentown Schools Cut 151 Jobs, Hike Taxes 8.2 Percent

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown School Board approved a final 2013-14 budget Thursday that spares full-day kindergarten and most elementary school related arts positions but cuts 151 jobs, sending a ripple effect throughout the district.

School directors voted 5-4 to adopt a spending plan that slashes 127 teachers, 14 administrators and 10 maintenance/custodial workers from the district’s payroll.  The cuts are accompanied by an 8.2 percent tax increase and a $10 million contribution from the district’s savings to keep the district afloat for another school year.

The only change to the $242 million budget was elimination of two vacant administrative positions — director of special projects and director of professional development.  That decision saves about $200,000.

Full-day kindergarten and elementary school music, art and gym teachers, originally in jeopardy of being cut, are retained in the final budget.  But the district will eliminate all five of its elementary librarians along with 19 middle-school related arts teachers.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-schools-final-budget-20130627,0,7917258.story#ixzz2XWm7azLQ
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Reading School Board Makes Budget Progress

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slowly toiling away, looking at proposed cuts from every angle imaginable, the Reading School Board inched closer and closer to its members’ goal: a balanced budget they can live with.

Following the board’s voting meeting Wednesday night, members stuck around to pick through the administration’s latest proposed 2013-14 spending plan.

They reviewed a list of 18 cuts one by one, taking straw polls to find out which ones have support and which ones don’t.

And, with two days before they plan to vote on a final budget, they appeared to have finally made some big decisions.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=487596

Reading Area Mail Slowed By Post Office Moves

USPS service delivery truck in a residential a...

USPS service delivery truck in a residential area of San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mail delivery has been slowed in the Reading area due to the recent termination of mail processing in the city, but a U.S. Postal Service spokesman said Wednesday that the delays should be temporary.

The mail that used to be processed at the Gus Yatron Postal Facility, 2100 N. 13th St., is now being handled in a Harrisburg facility.

The change was part of the Postal Service’s nationwide cost-cutting efforts, which include the closure of hundreds of mail processing sites.

The Postal Service no longer has the mail volume to justify keeping those facilities open, officials have said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=485891

Postal Service Is On Its Last Legs, With Little Help In Sight

English: U.S. Post Office Lincoln Branch in Ma...

English: U.S. Post Office Lincoln Branch in Madison Township near Mansfield, Ohio. This United States Postal Service branch closed its doors at 4:30 p.m. on Friday February 11, 2011 due to the fiscal crisis that the United States Postal Service is in as of 2010-2011 and the drastic decline in mail volume. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — With a wide grin and a quick step, letter carrier Kenny Clark brings more than the day’s mail to the people on his route in suburban Maryland.

Clark, 49, greets nearly everyone he sees by name. He puts packages under eaves on overcast days to keep them dry, reminds people to retrieve keys they might have left in keyholes, and shouts a quick “You OK?” at the doors of seniors.

“He’s a neighborhood icon — him and his truck,” said Amy Dick, who lives on Clark’s route.

But his future, and that of the U.S. Postal Service, is in doubt. The Postal Service lost $1.9 billion between January and March, and $15.9 billion last year. The 238-year-old institution loses $25 million each day, and has reached its borrowing limit with the federal Treasury. Daily mail delivery could be threatened within a year, officials say.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/la-na-postal-service-20130528,0,4812985.story

Conrad Weiser OKs Tentative Budget With 0.54-Mill Tax Hike

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Conrad Weiser School Board approved its tentative 2013-14 budget Wednesday, but board members are considering lowering the proposed tax increase before the final vote in June.

The board voted 6-3 to approve the $42.7 million tentative budget with a 0.54-mill property tax increase, the maximum allowed under the state’s Act 1 index.

Board members Margaret G. Rumbaugh, Tammy Starner Wert and William T. Carl Jr. voted no, saying they preferred a 0.42-mill increase that would balance the budget but leave the district with a smaller financial cushion.

The 0.54-mill increase will generate about $110,000 more revenue than is needed to balance the budget, Director of Business Robin L. Robertson said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477499

Twin Valley Trims $1 Million, Approves Tentative Budget

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After weeks of closed-door discussions, the Twin Valley School Board approved a $53.35 million tentative budget Monday, closing a $1 million shortfall with a combination of staff cuts, tax hikes and even a new revenue stream for 2013-14.

The list of staff cuts, previously undisclosed, includes furloughing a business teacher; not replacing three teachers – one full-time and two part-time – who have submitted resignation letters; not renewing two temporary teachers; and reducing a full-time art teacher to part time.  Also eliminated are 14 assistant middle and high school coaching positions and four assistant high school club advisers.

“We certainly would have liked to have done it a different way,” Dr. Robert F. Pleis, superintendent, said after the meeting.  “We don’t want to lose personnel.  That’s not our goal.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477019

Budget Presentation Disappoints Reading School Board

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The third time was not the charm.

The Reading School Board held its third budget workshop Wednesday night, and for the third time board members were disappointed.

It wasn’t because of the scope of proposed cuts needed to close a more than $8-million budget gap, but rather because of the lack of information. Again.

Administrators provided the board with a list of proposed changes – ranging from trying to bring some outsourced special education services back to cutting assistant principals from 12-month to 10-month employees – but did not provide a comprehensive plan to balance the budget.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=476031

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Announces Changes In City Hall Aimed At Doing More With Less

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  A foreign concept in Pottstown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WILKES-BARRE — Mayor Tom Leighton unveiled Tuesday “several significant personnel and administrative changes” that he feels will improve government efficiency and service to city taxpayers.

Leighton said he and his administrative staff have been working on the plan since September and he mentioned the consolidation and restructuring in his budget address in October.

“Basically, we have less people and we are asking them to do more,” he said, noting there are a third fewer employees at City Hall than when he took office in 2004.  Overall, then there were 300 employees in the city and now there are 265, he said.

“We’re assigning more responsibilities to less people,” he said.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/457404/Mayor-announces-changes-in-City-Hall-aimed-at-doing-more-with-less

Delays Hit Major Airports As Control Tower Furloughs Kick In

Seal of the United States Federal Aviation Adm...

Seal of the United States Federal Aviation Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Travelers waited more than an hour for flights in New York and experienced delays at other U.S. airports on Sunday evening as furloughs of air traffic controllers began, reducing the ability of busy hubs to handle arrivals and departures, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The furloughs that started Sunday reduced staffing by 10 percent across the country.  Last week the FAA warned of delays up to 3-1/2 hours at some airports as the agency cuts spending to meet reductions required under federal budget cuts.

New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports reported delays of more than an hour, and Philadelphia international airport also reported delays due to furloughs, the FAA said.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/sns-rt-us-usa-faa-furloughsbre93l03e-20130421,0,5104783.story

Michigan To Appoint Emergency Fiscal Manager For Detroit

English: City seal of Detroit, Michigan.

English: City seal of Detroit, Michigan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DETROIT — Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan announced on Friday that the city of Detroit is so snarled in financial woes that the state must appoint an emergency manager to lead it out of disaster.

“There is probably no city that is more financially challenged in the entire United States.  If you look at the quality of services for citizens it’s ranked among the worst.  So we went from the top to the bottom over the last 50 or 60 years,” Mr. Snyder told Detroiters in a town-hall-style meeting that was broadcast live on local television stations across the city.

“It’s time to say we should stop going downhill,” he said.  “There have been many good people that have had many plans, many attempts to turn this around, they haven’t worked.  The way I view it, today is a day to call all hands on deck.”

The state-appointed manager, who could be selected later this month, would ultimately wield powers aimed at swiftly turning around the municipal government’s dire circumstances — powers to cut city spending, change contracts with labor unions, merge or eliminate city departments, urge the sale of city assets and even, if all else failed, to recommend bankruptcy proceedings.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/02/us/michigan-appoints-emergency-manager-for-detroit.html?hp&_r=0