WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Tough conversations in a Luzerne County School District Thursday night involving a budget hole and possible teacher layoffs.

School officials say it could lead to the layoffs of more than two dozen teachers in the future.

The Crestwood School District is currently facing a $2.7 million deficit as it prepares the 2023-2024 budget.

In light of the district’s financial situation, the board of directors is weighing some tough decisions.

The Crestwood School District and its Board of Directors are faced with challenges balancing the 2023-2024 budget amid a $2.7 million deficit.

According to the district, substantial expenditures include rising healthcare costs, staff salaries, and transportation contract obligations.

“In my opinion, the healthcare is a big part of our problem, and that’s why we’re in this mess. And part of it’s just the state of healthcare but, unfortunately, that’s the plan we’re in, that’s the contract we’re in, and now we’re all trying to deal with it,” Marla Campbell, a member of the Crestwood School District Board of Education.

Superintendent Natasha Milazzo says the district’s projected expenditures are more than $48 million with projected revenues of nearly $46 million.

“It’s not just one component. Sure, we’d like more revenue coming in but the expense side is a huge driving factor that we’re facing,” said Milazzo.

Thursday’s financial planning committee meeting included a budget presentation that shed light on the situation.

Two possible resolutions are on the table for the board to vote on.

One is to remove the elementary arts and library program for the upcoming school year. The other, furloughing a number of professional staff.

“We’re all very concerned. We never want to see any employee affected. We never want to see the students get less than what they’re currently getting, and we’re trying to look at all possible ways to reduce our budget to minimize the impact on the students,” said John Macri, President of the Crestwood School District Board of Education.

The board will meet again on February 16 to vote on the proposed resolutions.

Eyewitness News is told any furloughs that are ultimately approved would become effective on July 1, 2023.