Budget impasse forces Red Lion schools to delay charter payments

Jessica Schladebeck

The Red Lion Area School District's school board during its meeting on Thursday voted to withhold cyber and charter tuition expenses, a decision brought on by cash flow issues as a result of the state budget impasse.

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Under the charter school funding formula, charter schools are to receive a payment from the home district of its enrolled students. Charter schools receive funding from both local school districts and the state based on the number of students attending.

"At this point if nothing changes, we will run out of money," said Red Lion Superintendent Scott Deisley before the board voted in favor of the payment delay. "We will barely get to June before we hit zero dollars."

Deisley went on to say the district has instituted an "absolute spending freeze" and is only spending money on essentials things like payroll and debt payments.

Earlier in the meeting Craig Slack, the district's director of building and grounds, fielded a question from the board about how the budget impasse has limited his department's ability to complete repair projects.

"I'd have to just sit here and start counting projects that we could be doing," he said. "There are refrigeration units that need to be replaced and sidewalks that we could be repairing."

Deisley estimated there has been $1 million worth of capital improvement that has not been done as a result of the impasse.

"We're at a point where things are getting dire," he said. "We can't replace computers so second graders aren't getting keyboarding classes, we haven't bought new textbooks. Kids only have one shot at second grade, they only have one shot at eighth grade. (The governor, the House and the Senate) are jeopardizing those students."

Deisley encouraged everyone to reach out to legislators until a budget is passed.

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com.