Westmoreland County

Norwin School Board looking potential cuts instead of tax increases to address a budget shortfall

NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa. — There have been a lot of proposals for the Norwin School Board to consider to address their nearly $4.4 million budget shortfall for next year. The question is where to find those savings.

“It’s frustrating,” said Amber Althouse, a parent of a kindergartner in the Norwin School District. “Norwin is such a great district here in Westmoreland County, and I feel like this is something that is going to be a problem long term.”

The school expects to spend more than $85 million next school year. They’re bringing in a little less than $81.5 million.

Most of the board does not want to raise taxes to make up for the difference.

So, that means cuts.

One proposal would eliminate one full-day kindergarten class from each school, saving a little more than $2 million.

Althouse, whose daughter does the half-day program, said this would be bad for a lot of families who need that full-day class.

“Studies show that full-day kindergarten is proven to be very beneficial for a lot of students and I think cutting a kindergarten class from each building would have detrimental effects long-term for those kids,” said Althouse.

They’ve also discussed not filling vacancies left by retiring teachers in music, social studies, early childhood education, gifted, and special education programs. Instead, they would be added to the current faculty workload.

Althouse, a former teacher for a different school district, thinks that would be incredibly tough on teachers who are already stretched thin.

“I feel like having teachers pick up extra slack is basically doing the opposite of what we should be doing for teachers in this district,” she said.

However, nothing is finalized. Norwin School District Superintendent Jeffrey Taylor sent Channel 11 this statement:

“At this time the Norwin School Board and District are still working on the final 2023-2024 budget. We will discuss it further at the May 22nd meeting.”

Channel 11′s Andrew Havranek reached out to all of the school board members but did not hear back from any of them.

Althouse hopes the board invests in students.

“Raising taxes to some degree is going to have to happen in order to keep and better our district moving forward,” Althouse said.

A final budget is set to be approved on June 5.

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