A request to local school districts: please don’t use the stimulus bill payoffs for staffing or programs

April 1 – So the Franklin County School District payouts from the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill? Here:

Chambersburg Area School District:  almost $23 million.

Waynesboro Area School District:  almost $11 million.

Greencastle-Antrim School District:  almost $4 million.

And here are the strings:

The money can’t be used to reduce taxes. Nope.

It’s still not certain if it can be used for debt reduction.

And there is a limited window of time for using the money.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll joined Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen on First News this morning to discuss the issue.

“Keep a really sharp eye on this over the next few months,” Barkdoll said. “To the extent budgets are being discussed, they’re going to have to make plans for the allocation of these funds starting really quickly.”

Jansen added, “I can’t think of worse combination then to say you can’t use it for tax reduction and you have to use it quickly. That’s just ridiculous. Recurring expenses are what we’re afraid of.”

“That is my greatest fear,” Barkdoll said. “They use this money not only to hire people, but to create new programs and then when the money is exhausted, those employees and those programs become part of the regular budget that we as tax payers have to absorb. So from a purely business management standpoint, I think that would be an awful use of these funds.”

Whatever decision is made for use of the funds from the stimulus bill, it’s critical to consider what will happen when the funds are no longer there.

This is a one-time payment that won’t happen again.

Please, to all the local school districts: use it wisely.