• 35 teachers, programming just some of proposed cuts in local school district

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    PENN HILLS, Pa. - Nearly 100 jobs, including 35 teaching positions, could be on the line in a local school district.

    The financial officer for the Penn Hills School District said Monday that the district can "no longer afford the ideal" as he laid out a very detailed plan to get the district out of debt.

    Millions of dollars in job cuts need to be made, and taxes may go up, in order to get the district back into the black.

    "We don’t want to rush into some type of short-term solution that looks good with a Band-Aid, but in the long term it doesn’t help the district," said Dr. Daniel J. Matsook, who has created the plan to get the district out of more than $170 million of debt, plus interest.

    In a worst-case scenario, Matsook told Channel 11 there could be 84 positions furloughed, including teachers.

    His presentation showed that there was an enrollment decline by 1600 students in the last decades, meaning fewer teachers are needed.

    "Nobody wants to do this. It’s something that has to be done just like we have to have a tax increase so where along the line to some degree it has to be done," Matsook said. "I know there were a lot of folks who didn’t want to hear it tonight, but they have to hear the reality. There’s no other way to do it short of the state bailing us out and the state's not going to bail us out completely."

    His hope is that the tax increase will generate more money so they get closer to paying off the debt. 


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    If approved, the district's pre-K program and ROTC organization will be cut.

    "It deals with about 30 students so I had to do the most good for the most people, but the good news is everybody else is untouched and our students still have access to a lot of courses and a lot of clubs and activities," Matsook said.

    The plan is preliminary.

    The board has 30 days to review the plan and vote on whether to approve it.


     

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