Pennsylvania School District Could Lose Ag Teacher

Pennsylvania School District Could Lose Ag Teacher

Posted: Updated:

May 10, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) - A Monday night vote moves a rural school district in the Keystone state another step closer to one less Ag teacher.  

In front of a large crowd of concerned residents, the West Perry School Board in Elliottsburg, Pennsylvania voted five to two, approving a “preliminary proposal budget” to offset an estimated $3.1 million deficit.  The plan could eliminate more that 20 teaching positions -- including the second teacher in the Ag Ed department.

Requests to retain the department as it currently stands were echoed throughout the gathering which lasted nearly three hours.   

Unlike most of their monthly meetings, they held last night’s meeting in the auditorium.  Of course there was a large crowd that turned out to show their support for the agriculture program.  Despite last night’s vote, it does sit now, for 30 days and the school board comes back together for a final vote in June. 

In the meantime, the proposed plan will be posted on the district’s website, allowing residents to further review details.

The board says changes in state government has placed undue pressure on local school districts, and rural schools are suffering the most.  However, the majority of comments during the meeting are that a loss in the Ag Department will create more problems than it solves.   

The proposed staff reduction would still leave the district short about $600,000 to $800,000.  The board estimates that amount can be covered by a proposed property tax increase.  

The West Perry School Board also amended the district’s retirement incentive program, encouraging early retirement for some teachers while allowing the district to keep others on staff.  So far 10 teachers who qualify for the early-out have decided to do so.  That faculty reconfiguration will be considered as the board finalizes the budget over the next 30 days. 

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