HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — COVID-19 has caused a tsunami of financial distress for the most stable businesses, but for a school district in recovery, there seems to be a light of hope.
Harrisburg School District officials have been working on their finances for almost an entire year –since the state took over in receivership last June.
“We did have a structurally balanced budget, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed that,” said acting superintendent, Dr. Christopher Celmer.
So, they’re changing, too. District officials have been working for months to restructure how the district spends money — something ignored in previous years.
“The academic team has been working on new schedules and really looking at per dollar allotments for supplies,” Celmer said.
Supplies from the government is what the district needs to stay on target. As of right now, no tax increase is needed to balance the budget.
“There could be CARES money coming to the school district in the amount of $4.7 million. Our current projected deficit is at $4.2 million,” Celmer said.
The situation is fluid, and the budget won’t be formally adopted until the end of June, but Celmer says there are still reasons to smile.
“We’re hopeful, you know, as we head into 2020-2021 — even with all the unknowns — that we will be able to move the school district forward, and sometimes, with crisis comes opportunity,” he said.
One of these opportunities includes revamping online learning. The district will be launching a virtual academy for students, which they were able to really focus on because of this pandemic.
To watch Monday’s budget presentation, click here.