Apr 22, 2013

The School Dilemma

There's a couple of conflicting articles about the Allentown School System budget dilemma on the local radar. Scott Armstrong, School Director, says that all options are being deployed against the shortfall; maximum tax increase allowed by law, layoffs, and spending down the reserve. Joanne Jackson, School Director, says that her fellow directors must do more. Armstong has suggested a teacher wage concession. Jackson, I suppose, would use more reserve funds. This dilemma is not new to older Allentown tax payers. Usually by the mid summer the State restores some of the funding. Likewise, the school system has a habit of staffing based on grants, which will always run out. As a payer of state taxes, I'm not a big fan of the NIZ. That zone was split into three sections; Downtown, Riverfront, and thankfully, The Sacred Heart Hospital. Perhaps it should have been four, including the Allen High Campus. Amazing how much creativity can be applied to finance private development, and how little toward public education.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Harrisburg has been dragging its feet on pension reform for years and even the governor's small first step plan to begin to address the problem is meeting stiff opposition from predictable quarters.Public school employee costs are exploding.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott at 5:55, a problem i have are the political solutions. harrisburg will continue to drag it's feet, don't expect teachers, or anybody, to concede their pensions. joanne jackson says to vote for candidates who support educational funding. dan mcneill spoke at the rally, but he has told me how entrenched is current policy. a novel funding solution must be found outside of the usual finger pointing.

Anonymous said...

The same Pat Browne team that wrangled $300 million for an arena needs to step up and find $300 million for the ASD, it's that simple. I hear Browne's on it, actually, which is good.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:15, it's time to straighten out some misinformation. the school shortfall is less than $30 million. the state did not pay for the arena, but allows the income and sales tax to be applied toward the debt service to repay municipal bonds, which were used to finance the construction.

Anonymous said...

Pat Browne authored the legislation that enabled the ingenious arena and surrounding area real estate development plan. Am hoping Sen. Browne can do something similar, legislation-wise, for the ASD.

Anonymous said...

The real estate taxes generated by the properties in the NIZ zone should contribute alot more to ASD than the amount they would lose in state taxes.I'm not saying the NIZ is a good thing, just that as constructed it should help ASD.Little new growth in students and more tax money.

The real (local only) comparison should be the taxes paid from the zone before and after the NIZ creation. The other taxes the state are not going to receive would not have existed anyway.

Two things are important (1) the state needs pension reform in the form of defined contribution pensions for new employees, and (2)eliminating seniority from decisions to balance budgets.

Both of the changes go against strong poltical powerful interests. Just putting more money into the old way of doing business will not help.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Taxpayers need to understand that the special interests/teacher's union and union allies show up and are vocal at every meeting. They do the same with our elected officials. Those who foot the bill for our public schools must make their voices heard above this din.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Whats the problem ? State government is for the most part Republican with a stong showing of tea party advocates. You got the power so fix the problems,already. Whats the excuses this time?

ironpigpen said...

Simply get the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to pass a law enabling some bureaucratic agency to float bonds to raise the money to cover the Allentown School District's financial shortfall.

How hard is that?

Please advise.

Shaibu!

ROLF OELER

Anonymous said...

Your GOP buddies in Harris. can fix this Scott Armstrong.
They control the show.

michael molovinsky said...

@1:46 is the same sentiment as @9:10. repetitive comments, such as this, will usually not appear, even if submitted by different people at different times.

Anonymous said...

Michael, fluff abounds in the district--dual enrollment figures where asd teachers are relegated to sitting in the back of the room as babysitters--top heavy central admin. and building admin., public relations person and their clerical staff, more controlled spending in jointure with city spending for consumables, professional dev. is being done by intermediate unit and their advanced college courses. block system in scheduling not effective, restorative practice training and materials not important at this time, paper waste, busing idling time eating up monies, our teachers are being used in hallways as bathroom monitors rather than teaching, duplication of psat testing, birney crum issues, just to name a few. if teachers are asked to freeze their salaries or to take a reduction-then it should be across the board. the state reimburses the district 50% of their contribution to pension and the pension reform proposed by present gov. will increase the debt by 48 billion dollars--yes, I said billion, privatization of the custodial services, frivolous spending with central admin. credit card that is asked about and never answered, instruction and curriculum supervisors just monitoring with a clip board and walking around the buildings, high tech equipment not being used, overlapping of job time for some holding two positions, the new turf at birney crum, teachers don't even have enough desks for their classes or books-ap physics teacher has one book-only one book for the entire class, directors of nothing in central admin., waste in the cafeteria, conference expense at this time is frivolous, and that is just to name a few. monies that can not be explained with clarity to board members, we are a free and public institution, k to 12--at this time dual enrollment is not appropriate when same academic needs can be met in ap classes, schools for the most part don't even accept the college credits that the students are provided with during the school day.