Stalled budget could ripple to local schools

Schools consider loans to make payments; B-A has avoided the measure so far


Tierra Mahute

Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy and business manager Kim Van Gorder look over budget figures. McInroy said BASD has been able to avoid taking out loans to pay the bills as a result of a state budget stalemate.

Nathan Davis, Staff Writer

Everything is okay until it starts affecting someone personally. That’s the way human nature works.

As it turns out, the stalemate in Harrisburg over state-wide funding for education may soon have an impact locally.

The Bellwood-Antis School District may have to start taking loans from banks in the near future to meet its financial obligations.

But Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy is hoping the district won’t have to go to such drastic measures.

“We’re okay for now, and I think that’s important for people to understand,” he said.  “We’re running off of local funds, which isn’t a whole lot, but it’s enough for the time being.”

When asked about what the loans would be used for, Dr. McInroy said, “everything,” including the payroll of the staff as well as the bills of the school itself to keep it running.

We’re running off of local funds, which isn’t a whole lot, but it’s enough for the time being.”

— Dr. Thomas McInroy

“There’s a few ways we could go about borrowing money from banks,” added McInroy.  “We could take a loan, where we would take all the money we need out at one time, or use a line of credit, which is taking what we need a bit at a time.”

Dr. McInroy said getting a new budget passed is a process.

“I’m personally going to meet with our state representative, Judy Ward, to see if we can come to some resolution,” he said.

The Bellwood-Antis School District budget was passed in June, but because of the unwillingness in Harrisburg of both parties to budge, the commonwealth is no closer to passing its own budget.  They were to have theirs passed in June, as well.

Part of the state budget is education funding, and without it schools have to look elsewhere for funding.

Several proposals have been made, with Governor Tom Wolf (D) vetoing the entire Republican budget in July.

Moody’s recently lowered its financial outlook for Pennsylvania based on the budget stalemate.

Now, it looks like the state may be lucky to have the budget passed by January.

“Once a budget is actually passed, it will probably take about three weeks for us to get the money, so it’s important for us to remain patient,” McInroy concluded.

B-A Principal Richard Schreier also noted that it is imperative that the Assembly in Harrisburg reach a compromise, so the district can avoid borrowing money.

“Hopefully it won’t come to that,” he said.

Mr. Schreier said he hoped that the leaders in Harrisburg can make a decision based on what is best for the people instead of trying to be stubborn and prove a point.

There are a handful of schools that may have to shut down because of the stalemate, like Erie and Carbondale.