Chichester a Case Study for Pennsylvania’s Plethora of Financially Struggling School Districts

Photo courtesy of Digital First Media.

Several school districts across the state, including Chichester, are being forced to take drastic measures to deal with their rising costs in the face of decreasing or stagnant revenues, writes Kathy Boccella for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to an annual report released by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, the state’s public schools have been raising taxes, cutting programs and staff, and borrowing money to try to stay afloat.

This year did offer some relief to schools after the state’s legislature signed a new, student-weighted funding formula and passed a budget that included $200 million in new Basic Education Funding.

“They were thrown a life vest,” stated the report.

One of the six case studies featured in the report looked at the Chichester School District, where more than half of the students are economically disadvantaged. The report offers a bleak picture of the district’s programs, after several years where state aid was cut while expenses grew.

Superintendent Kathleen Sherman explained that the district was forced to reduce teaching and administrative staff, remove the summer enrichment program, and deal with multi-year deficits of millions of dollars.

“Some kind of equity needs to take place,” she said.

Read more about the funding issue in the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.

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