By Joel Zamora
The state finally passed a budget for public schools that initiated a start for funding on March 26.
Tom Wolf, the governor of Pennsylvania, decided to let the bill pass by the House and Senate, to be passed without his signature. This was an advancement in progress for the schools throughout the state. For Red Lion, this means about $2 million is received from the state. Originally, the state owed Red Lion $9.7 million. People residing in districts might ask public schools where the rest of the money is if the budget was already passed.
“I was delighted that progress was being made,” Dr. Scott Deisley said, the superintendent of the Red Lion School District. “However, the budget being passed is only half the story.”
The bill for the budget was passed, but the governor did veto the Fiscal Code that was supposed to come along with the rest of the budget being passed. The Senate Republicans disapproved of Wolf’s veto which withholds over $400 million for public education funding. A great chunk of funding that comes with the fiscal code is PlanCon reimbursement, The PlanCon reimbursement are promised reimbursements by the state for school construction projects. The veto abstains about $289 million that’s supposed to be given to schools. Dr. Deisley says that this equates to $1.6 to $2 million for RLASD.
“I think for the first time, politics has really impacted the public schools. We’ve become that actual pawn in their political game,” assistant superintendent Mrs. Kimberly Schlemmer said.
Previously , to combat this, the school halted the Cyber Charter Schools Program which costs $12K to $25K per student. After passing the new bill, which will bring in a possible $2 million for Red Lion, Dr. Deisley said that at this time, it will still not be possible to add any new things or bring back any old things from the past to the schools.
Another service that has been ceased as a result of the budget impasse is the preventative maintenance, which is what keeps everything up to date and fixed throughout the school. This solely costs about $1 million.
The state owes the school district $9.7 million. It costs $7.1 million monthly to run the school district.
In an earlier interview, Dr. Deisley said, “The reason we are so upset about the state budget not being passed is because a third of our budget is not here. They [the state] have taken away from us over a month’s worth of money.”
Dr. Deisley said that what the state needs to do to start working out the problem is to start listening to us [schools, students, parents], and to start listening to each other.
“Your legislators need to know that you are concerned about this. The need to know that you value education. The only way that this can get resolved is if we all contact our legislators and say, here’s what we want. I want folks to know that we’re out there advocating [for them], that we’re out there arguing on behalf of public education, but more important on behalf of our kids.”