By Jim Melwert
LANSDOWNE, Pa. (CBS) — Summer vacation is almost over for students across the Delaware Valley. But as schools get ready to open their doors, there is still no budget from Harrisburg. That has some district officials in Delaware County calling on state lawmakers to get their act together.
Jennifer Hoff is the school board president for the William Penn School District. She says if they failed to get a district budget passed by June 30th, they could go to jail, yet state lawmakers continue bickering weeks after their budget due date.
“We start school in two weeks,” Hoff says. “What are we going to do?”
She says Governor Tom Wolf and members of the legislature could use an elementary refresher.
“We teach our kids problem solving skills,” Hoff says. “Our adults have to abide by the same problem solving skills to get the job done.”
Hoff was joined by superintendents from four districts in Delaware County representing 30,000 students, including Chichester School District superintendent Kathleen Sherman. She says her district passes a budget on time each year.
“We believe that state lawmakers should be held to the same standard,” Sherman says, “by passing a budget that acknowledges the sacrifices that communities across the state have made.”
They warn of increased class sizes and cuts to programs, though one official says a first grade classroom already has 32 students, and programs have already been cut to the bone.
But Upper Darby superintendent Rich Dunlap says if the impasse continues, difficult decisions will have to be made.
“Whether it comes out of our fund balance, or we go back and cut some programming,” he says. “It’s kind of difficult to do that.”
The governor’s budget proposes $410-million in new state funding. The GOP budget — which Wolf vetoed — called for a new increase of $100-million.