- Last Updated on Thursday, 29 January 2009 02:33
- Published on Thursday, 29 January 2009 02:33
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Global economic patterns some have termed as the beginning of the Very Great Depression reached Westmoreland County when the jurisdiction’s School Board met this Monday.
Division Superintendent Elaine Fogliani had done the math that utilizes current school division budget numbers and an anticipated $420,000 reduction in the state’s basic aid contribution to Westmoreland.
The basic aid contribution from the state is used to calculate the minimum level of funding a locality must contribute to support its school division. Fogliani anticipated that the minimum contribution the county is required to contribute would be similarly reduced, resulting in the loss of more than $800,000.
It was understood that such a shortfall would have dire impacts on an already bare bones budget with a $19 million bottom line. Additional reductions in state and federal revenue must also be taken into account, the Division Superintendent advised the members of the Board.
“These will be some of the toughest decisions we ever had to make,” said Fogliani. The Superintendent has proposed a 1 percent cut in employee salaries that would generate $400,000 to help support the division’s most essential programs.
Administrative staff would be reduced and assistant principal and teacher’s assistant positions would be lost to accommodate the shrinking bottom line. Other cost saving measures would include elimination of some or all field trips, extra curricular activities and the pre-school programs at the elementary schools.
The School Board will tackle the problem of the division’s shrinking budget when it convenes its February 16 work session. At that time the General Assembly’s intentions may be better understood.