Scranton School District Faces $2.8 Million Deficit

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

The Scranton School Board approved a preliminary budget Monday that leaves the district with an anticipated $2.8 million deficit for 2013.

The board voted unanimously to approve the $121,198,093 budget, but said the district was still awaiting word from Berkheimer Tax Administrator Inc. regarding funding due from Centax Group and confirmation regarding special education funding.

Kathleen McGuigan, chairwoman of the budget and finance committee, said it is unknown how much money the district will get back from Centax or when the money will come, and she wants to rely only on “solid numbers” and definite funding while considering the 2013 budget.

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Scranton School Board Votes Raise Transparency Issues

Editor’s note:  Did Mr. Hylton move to Scranton?

Members of the Scranton School Board deciding via telephone to remove the tentative budget from the public agenda “raises significant issues” with transparency, a legal expert said Thursday.

Other action taken by the board Tuesday, including voting for more than $130,000 in project change orders after work was done, and the approval of work by the district engineer after it was completed, also should concern the public, said Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

The board was expected to approve the 2013 tentative budget on Tuesday, but as Kathleen McGuigan, chairwoman of the budget and finance committee, started to read the motion, board President Bob Lesh stopped her. Mr. Lesh said he called directors and a majority agreed to remove the budget from the agenda. The tentative budget must be posted for 30 days of public review, and the final budget must be passed by the end of the year.

While the phone calls by Mr. Lesh may not be a violation of the Sunshine Act – the state’s open meetings law – it “raises significant issues,” Ms. Melewsky said.

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