Erie School Board says financial plan rejection is "slap in the face"

An emotional Wednesday night as the Erie School Board is certain to face tough decisions for the district.
A future that is making parents, administration, staff and educators nervous.

The board coming together for the first time since being rejected a $31.8 million financial recovery plan.

Frank Petrungar, board president, says, "Everything in that letter is a slap in the face to the hard work of our administration, our superintendent and the board. We did everything by the books."

The feeling shared across the board as they meet for the first time since being rejected.

Dr. Jay Badams said they did everything the Department of Education asked for and followed all recommendations.

Badams said, "We are confused but we will comply. We'll go ahead and go through this exercise again. Hopefully, won't be chasing our tail. And we'll submit it within the 60 days they've given us."
But the board also says they must look forward and quickly.

The district facing a $10 million deficit with consolidation, major cuts and tax increases all on the table.

Badams says, "We're hopeful that even though we still have to wrestle with these budget issues by further downsizing the district we can make more efficient use of our facilities and then create some programs so that students at the high school level will have choices that they don't currently have."

Petrungar says, "It's bigger than the Erie Public Schools. It's about the city. If the taxes go up, more and more people are pushed out, the businesses are leaving. What are we left with? So we're going to fight."

The Erie School District has released a schedule of public hearings on the proposed restructuring.

All meetings are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

March 13 – East High School
March 16 – Harding School
March 22 – Booker T. Washington Center
March 29 – John F. Kennedy Center
March 30 – Martin Luther King Jr. Center
A final vote is planned for April 19. 


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