Fighting for adequate funding

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The fight for adequate funding for the Scranton School District continues.

Last week we told you about board directors passing its recovery plan, something they will have to follow for the next five years. But within the plan, the district says it’s still lacking proper funding from Harrisburg.

At Lackawanna County’s monthly meeting, the three commissioners passed a resolution to help fight for equal funding for the Scranton School District.

“Look the Scranton School District has been underfunded for years by the state. They have had their allowment cut by the state and the board of commissioners and the county feels it’s not correct. It’s not the right way to do it,” Donald Frederickson, Jr., esquire, Lackawanna County General Council said.

Pat O’Malley, Jerry Notarianni and Laureen Cummings will be sending a letter to Governor Tom Wolf and state representatives letting them know something needs to be done.

“We’re hoping that the state comes forward and gives the right amount to make sure that our students are well-funded,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley, a former vice president of the school board, says with the district $200 million in debt, the state is partially at fault.

“Governor Corbett took $5.5 million right out of our budget six months into our year which was incredible,” O’Malley said.

The ripple effect has residents wanting answers. Last week the community gathered at a town hall to discuss the lack of funding and what they can do as taxpayers to bring more money to the district.

“This isn’t something that we can push down the road for years to come. It needs to be done and it needs to be done soon,” school board director Greg Popil said.

Popil was the only person to speak during public comment on the issue. He says children in the Scranton School District should be treated the same across the commonwealth. Popil says each student is underfunded about $2,000 each year.

“The only way it can be corrected is if the state steps up to the plate and funds the district to the tune where we should be funded,” Popil said.

Scranton residents tell Eyewitness News they’re upset because, in the recovery plan, property tax could increase once again. They say with the adequate funding, board directors wouldn’t have to keep raising taxes or consolidate schools.

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