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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: PA school administrators pessimistic

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 17, 2016 9:00 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, June 17, 2016:

Summer vacation is not a time off for school administrators. A recent survey conducted by Pennsylvania superintendents and school business officials on the rising costs and budget cuts found that the coming 2016-17 school year offers "the worst outlook" so far. The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) report found that during the 2015-16 year, 14% of districts were forced to borrow over $746 million and 74% dipped into fund balances to make it.

The report also found that 46% of districts are planning on cutting staff before the coming school year. 34% plan to increase class sizes, and 50% plan to remove academic programs and extracurriculars. At the same time, 85% of districts plan on raising property taxes, the seventh consecutive year in which over 60% of districts are raising taxes.

The report surveyed 71% of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts, at least one from every county, and ranging from the largest district in Philadelphia to districts with fewer than 750 students. The coming year will clearly affect districts across the state.

Jeff Ammerman,  Director of Member Assistance at The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), and Jim Buckheit, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA), join us Friday to discuss the findings of their organizations' survey, the causes behind these problems, the impacts we'll see, possible solutions, and changes we can expect to our taxes and schools.

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Jeff Ammerman & Jim Buckheit

Published in News, Smart Talk

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