Tax increase, layoffs possible in Chester-Upland district

Posted: May 26, 2013

The Chester Upland School District has released a preliminary 2013-14 budget with a $22.5 million shortfall that might require a 2.7 percent tax increase and layoffs.

The $123.9 million spending plan approved Thursday night by state-appointed receiver Joseph Watkins represented a $22 million increase from this year's.

School officials cautioned that the budget was in the early stages and that the district could get more state funding. Final adoption is scheduled for June 27.

The deficit is due mainly to charter-school payments, according to George Crawford, the district's chief financial officer. Next year's charter-payment projection of $59 million is almost triple what was spent this year.

The district has 4,062 students in charters and 2,667 in the public schools, according to a representative. The district expects to lose an additional 350 students to charters next year.

Special-education payments also will increase.

Rising salary and benefits costs also are contributing to increased expenses, officials said.

The ailing district already is in the red, expecting to end the current school year with a $9.5 million deficit.

As part of its recovery plan, Chester Upland recently hired a new superintendent, is reconfiguring schools and grades, and is exploring ways to create magnet schools to provide a variety of opportunities for students.

The legislature last year returned the district to state supervision. The district has been under state supervision for most of the last 19 years.


Contact Kathy Boccella at 610-313-8232, kboccella@phillynews.com, or follow #kathyboccella on Twitter.

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