Potential furloughs at Central Dauphin School District, how could stimulus money help?

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DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Potential furloughs remain on the table at Central Dauphin School District. We’re told the move could save about $2 million, and right now, the budget shortfall is about $11 million.

The school board president, Ford Thompson, stressed these furloughs are a last resort, and they’re weighing all options. A decision on this will be made at the end of May, early June.

The school board voted 6-to-3 last week to keep the option to furlough open, which could affect 21 teachers, two administrative staff members and two other district employees.

“There are things that we must pay for that we have little control over, and we also have a finite amount of revenue,” Thompson said.

But could federal stimulus money help?

“If we would do that exclusively, we will have the same problem or worse next year,” Thompson said.

School board member Eric Epstein strongly disagrees with that.

“We don’t need a tax increase. We don’t need to be furloughing teachers. We’re getting twice as much stimulus money as we thought. We’re getting $18 million, instead of $9 million. We can use the money and actually are explicitly directed to use the money to avoid furloughs. I think we should pull this off the table and stop creating unnecessary anxiety amongst our staff,” Epstein said.

Epstein said he’s working on an updated budget plan to present to the board soon that does not include furloughs and tax increases.

“Any time you lay off a teacher, you necessarily decrease class size and jeopardize the quality of education delivery. I also think it would endanger the extracurricular services we would provide,” said Epstein.

Thompson admits this could affect class sizes, but doesn’t believe it would affect extracurriculars.

If these furloughs are approved, they would last for the full fiscal year, starting this July.

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