(WHTM) — Two issues, a lack of teachers and funding, are currently plaguing many Pennsylvania schools.
Governor Josh Shapiro discussed funding for schools throughout the Commonwealth in his budget address earlier this week. Up to $1 billion could go to public schools in Pennsylvania if Shapiro’s proposals are put into place.
Shapiro mentioned funding for mental health counselors throughout Pennsylvania schools as well, but for some school districts, like Steelton-Highspire, the proposed funding might not be enough.
“We’re traditionally underfunded $9 million,” said Steelton-Highspire School District Superintendent Mick Iskric.
The Steelton-Highspire School District has been underfunded and in a deficit for the last 14 years.
Schools in Pennsylvania are commonly funded by local property taxes, and Steelton is a low-income community.
“Our curriculum is bare bones,” added Iskric.
Iskric estimates that in Shapiro’s proposed funding passes, Steelton-Highspire’s district would increase by around $1.4 million, barely enough to make a dent in the current deficit.
“We need ELA support, math support, reading support, and social and emotional and mental health. A lot of the things that come with a high-poverty school district,” added Iskric.
Infrastructure poses a problem for Steelton-Highspire as well.
“We have a junior-senior high school that was built in the 50s. It’s falling apart,” said Iskric.
Other school districts throughout the Commonwealth are in need of more funding as well.
“We go into this budget season, you know, we may have somebody retire through attrition or move away, do we replace them because of that fiscal cliff?” said Superintendent Vance Varner of the Mifflin County School District.
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“We need additional support staff, paras we need folks to support students with mental health needs. All of those needs are increasing and unfortunately our budget is not,” said Superintendent Tamara Willis of the Susquehanna Township School District.
Local school districts are remaining hopeful, acknowledging Shapiro’s proposal as a step in the right direction.
“I think we’re, as superintendents across the state, I think we’re optimistic that this may actually open some dialogue and some other opportunities,” added Varner.