Allentown School Board picked up another $350,000 this week, and at least two members, President Bob Smith and board member Joanne Jackson, want to bring back at least five laid off teachers. Smith favors bringing back elementary level gym teachers. Jackson, a former teacher herself, needs no convincing. Usually, by the time the state budget is finished at the end of June, there are more funds available for the district. With a school tax increase of over 8% this year, some board members instead favor applying the additional funds to decrease the rising homeowner burden. Board member Scott Armstrong believes that bringing back a few teachers is only a temporary false reprieve, and not facing fiscal reality, which is an 8% increase each year, for the next four years. Member David Zimmerman would also not rehire any teachers. Hiring back teachers, who have already received their pink slip, actually only increases and complicates the long term pension obligation. The school situation is dire. We face more layoffs, increasing taxes, and school closings. One wonders why we built new buildings in this financial climate? Both the federal and state governments impose essentially unfunded mandates in both testing and performance. A state takeover would provide no benefit, there's no magic in Harrisburg. I personally know both camps on the school board. Although they have different approaches to our problems, they all have a deep regard for the students of Allentown. I believe that those students will continue to find dedicated teachers that provide a quality education even under these difficult conditions.